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20,000 join Thunberg in school strike for climate justice

CLIMATE activist Greta Thunberg joined a crowd of more than 20,000 people today to take part in Bristol’s 10th climate strike.

The 17-year-old Swedish campaigner gave a speech to the huge rally before joining a rainy march through the city streets, accompanied by a samba band.

Ms Thunberg accused officials, government, and media of “completely ignoring” climate change and urged the crowd’s large contigent of schoolchildren to “be the adults in the room.”

She said: “Once again, they sweep their mess under the rug for us — young people, their children — to clean up for them.

“But we must continue and we have to be patient. Remember that the changes required will not happen overnight since the politics and solutions are far from sight.

“We will not be silenced because we are the change, and change is coming whether you like it or not.

“This emergency is being completely ignored by the politicians, the media and those in power.

“Basically, nothing is being done to halt this crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises from our elected officials.

“So what did you do during this crucial time? I will not be silenced when the world is on fire.”

She was joined in the pre-march speeches with a call for change from Mya-Rose Craig, also 17 and who last week became the youngest person to be awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Bristol.

The student ornithologist — whose doctorate was in recognition of her Black2Nature organisation which runs nature camps for children from black and minority-ethnic backgrounds — called for greater diversity in the climate movement.

She told the crowd: “We have to engage with all of our communities in order to properly fight climate change. An unequal world can never be a sustainable one.”

Protesters of all ages waved flags, placards and banners and chanted as they made their way around the city centre.

Police said around 20,000 people attended, while organisers estimated the number was closer to 30,000.

Ms Thunberg, who triggered the global school-strike movement by sitting outside of the Swedish parliament in 2018, said she was visiting Bristol because of its strong climate-change movement.

The city last year unveiled a 15 metre-high mural of her painted on the side of the Tobacco Factory venue.

Dr Patrick Hart, a GP and member of Doctors for Extinction Rebellion, said: “We’re speaking out to raise the alarm on the impending health crisis.

"As healthcare professionals, our code of conduct compels us to act promptly where we notice unacceptable risks to patient health, both now and future.

"Climate change is the greatest threat to human life worldwide, so we’re demanding our government take urgent action to address the crisis before it’s too late."

 

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