Greta Thunberg apologises after saying politicians should be put 'against the wall'

14 December 2019, 22:24

The climate activist apologised for the misunderstanding
The climate activist apologised for the misunderstanding. Picture: PA Images
Ewan Quayle

By Ewan Quayle

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has apologised for saying politicians should be put "against the wall", after critics took it to mean that she was advocating violence.

The 16-year-old Swede made the comment in a speech to young activists in Turin, Italy on Friday.

Ms Thunberg later said she was making a literal translation from Swedish, in which the expression means to put someone on the spot with tough questions.

In a tweet, Ms Thunberg wrote: "That's what happens when you improvise speeches in a second language. But of course I apologise if anyone misunderstood this."

Ms Thunberg told the crowd in Turin that world leaders were running away from their responsibilities to fight climate change.

Greta Thunberg made a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference earlier this week
Greta Thunberg made a speech at the UN Climate Change Conference earlier this week. Picture: PA Images

"We have to make sure that they cannot do that," she said.

"We will make sure they, that we put them against the wall, and that they will have to do their job and to protect our futures."

The expression "putting someone against the wall" in Swedish describes a situation when someone is forced to address difficult questions or a difficult situation.

Some political commentators on social media interpreted her comment as a call for violence against politicians. but Ms Thunberg insisted she and the youth movement is opposed to all forms of violence.