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THOUSANDS of schoolchildren and young people brought central London to a standstill today to protest against the government’s inaction on climate change.
A number of them dodged police barriers and climbed onto the Queen Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace with one making it 82 feet to the top.
Others blocked off the roads around Trafalgar Square. Chants of “oh Jeremy Corbyn” and “hey, ho, climate change has got to go” were heard as they marched there from Parliament Square.
Anna Taylor, one of the organisers of the YouthStrike4Climate protest, said the government was failing to recognise the severity of the environmental crisis.
The 17-year-old said: “We’re here because we feel betrayed and we don’t feel we can trust them to protect our future, which is why we’re having to go on strike to make our voices heard, and let them know that unless they change something we will keep striking until they consider our demands.
“They’re failing to make environmental reform and environmental policy a priority, they’re focusing on economic policy and Brexit and failing to address the climate crisis facing us.”
Action was also taken across Britain with students striking in major cities, as well as around the world with 2,000 events expected to have taken place in more than 120 countries.
Ahead of the protest, Labour’s shadow youth affairs minister Cat Smith said the party was in solidarity with the protesters.
She said: “The strike demonstrates that young people care deeply about environmental issues and will use their collective power to bring about meaningful change.
“This should serve as a wake-up call to the political establishment that young people’s views can no longer be ignored, and urgent action is needed to tackle the escalating ecological crisis.”
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has also backed the strikers, tweeting: “Thank you for standing up against climate change. You shouldn’t have to pay the price for the mistakes of previous generations.”
Prime Minister Theresa May and Education Secretary Damian Hinds previously criticised the young protesters for being on strike from school during the first nationwide action in February.
Conservative MPs have now lined up to praise the “inspirational strikers.”
In a video released ahead of the strikes Environment Secretary Michael Gove told students they agreed that collective action on climate change can make a “profound” difference.
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