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Thousands of students warn May to act on climate change

Britain's major cities swamped as #YouthStrike4Climate mounts huge protest

THOUSANDS of students across the country took to the streets today in a third round of protests demanding action on climate change.

High school and sixth-form students in over 70 towns and cities held demonstrations as part of the Youth Strike 4 Climate in protest against the government’s inaction.

In major cities such as Manchester, Glasgow, Liverpool and Bristol, thousands of students brought city centres to a standstill and held impromptu rallies.

In London, over 5,000 students marching from Trafalgar Square marched to Regent Street, where they then held a sit-down occupation and heard from speakers from the ecological and labour movements.

UK Student Climate Network organiser Noga Levy-Rapoport spoke to the demonstration, saying: “There is so little time that we have left before we enter such a volatile future and if I was not here today it would be a literal betrayal to myself, my family, my friends and my future.

“We are here to demand the decarbonisation of our economy, and for education on climate change, and we are not going to back down in our fight.”

These demonstrations are the third of their kind to happen in Britain since Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg initiated a “climate strike” in Sweden last year.

They come as a United Nations report warned that “unprecedented action” will need to be taken in order to resist a temperature rise of 1.5°C in the coming 12 years.

Denise, a sixth-former from Clapton, told the Star: “I’m here with my best mate and my little sister because we want a future for nature and society.

“Apparently, we need to get out on the streets to demand that our grandchildren will have one too.

“This government won’t be interested in radical change unless we force crisis on them.”

Artin Giles, who sits on London Young Labour’s executive committee, added: “We need a world to still exist in a century’s time, which means radical change is necessary now.

“This broken, corrupt government has to listen to the demands of these young people, who won’t be going away anytime soon, and make sure that meaningful change is put on the agenda.

“Otherwise, they should get out of the way and let Labour deal with the existential crisis facing our planet with a Green New Deal that provides jobs for the many and safety for our planet.”

Those going on strike are demanding that the government declares a state of climate emergency, and reforms the curriculum “to address climate change as an educational priority.”

They are also campaigning for the voices of young people to be considered when it comes to policy-making and for the voting age to be lowered to 16.

Labour shadow business secretary Rebecca Long Bailey said: “Climate breakdown is the biggest challenge faced by any generation, but I think this generation is more than up to the task.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn added: “I support the young people striking today and thank them for taking action.

“We urgently need to decarbonise the economy, invest in green jobs to rebuild our communities, and protect those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change.”

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