Greta Thunberg hails climate protesters as fresh action sweeps cities around the world

27 September 2019, 18:58

Nick Hardinges

By Nick Hardinges

Hundreds of thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in a fresh wave of worldwide climate strikes from Europe to New Zealand and India to Chile.

Friday's demonstrations begun in New Zealand's capital, Wellington, where tens of thousands of students marched on the parliament building.

The protest, inspired by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, was one of the largest the country had ever seen with thousands also gathering in Auckland.

About 11,000 New Zealanders delivered an open letter to their parliament urging the government to declare a climate emergency.

Raven Maeder, the School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator, said: "Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action that safeguards our futures on this planet.

"Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth for current and future generations.

"This is our home."

Ms Thunberg spoke at a United Nations summit this week during which a video of her passionate speech went viral.

Today's demonstrations are the second round of a climate strike that began on Friday 20 September, when millions walked out of schools and their places of work.

More than 100,000 reportedly marched in Italy's capital, Rome with protesters holding up banners reading "Change the system, not the climate" or simply "Future".

Another 180 protests were planned in the rest of the country, including Milan, despite the Italian Education Ministry warning students they would be penalised for missing school.

In India, schoolchildren expressed their fear that global warming would melt Himalayan glaciers that south Asia is heavily reliant upon.

Meanwhile, German activists in Berlin protested against a government proposal that planned to cut greenhouse gas emissions as they believed it would not go far enough in helping the country to meet its targets set in the Paris climate accord.

Protests were held in Nigeria with school children wearing "Climate Justice Now" t-shirts and holding banners that read "No corporate profit in a dead planet".

Drums were banged and songs were sung as people marched through roads in Arusha, Tanzania, the gateway to Mount Kilimanjaro.

No Country for Old Men actor Javier Bardem joined demonstrators in Spain to promote a documentary he worked on with Greenpeace.

In the Netherlands, where thousands lined the streets in The Hague, activists recognised that getting politicians to act against global warming is only part of the solution.

"It's also about then leading sustainable lives and making changes to make your life more sustainable," said Utrecht University student Beth Meadows.

More demonstrations will be seen later today in South America with many planning to flood the streets of Santiago in Chile and countries around the rim of the Amazon rainforest, such as Brazil, Bolivia, Ecuador and Paraguay.

Ms Thunberg planned to attend a protest in Montreal, Canada.