Feb. 15 (UPI) — Tens of thousands of British youngsters skipped school Friday to demand government action to stop climate change.
Between 10,000 and 15,000 students rallied in more than 60 towns and larger cities throughout the country for a protest organized by Youth Strike 4 Climate. They asked the British government to declare an emergency over climate change.
“It goes some way to proving that young people aren’t apathetic, we’re passionate, articulate and we’re ready to continue demonstrating the need for urgent and radical climate action,” 17-year-old activist Anna Taylor told The Guardian.
Many of the minors faced threats of detention at school for taking the unexcused absence.
In London, about 3,000 people rallied, blocking roads outside Parliament and holding banners. They chanted “turn off your engines” and “we want the chance for change now.” Others held posters with phrases like “there is no planet B” and “the climate is changing, why aren’t we?”
London police arrested a 19-year-old man and a 17-year-old girl for obstructing a highway, and a 17-year-old boy for public disorder.
“This is our future and this is making a difference. The government has to listen. I feel incredibly powerful just being here,” Matt Sourby, 18, said.
In addition for calling for a climate emergency declared by Parliament, the students said the government should be transparent about the seriousness of climate change, lower the voting age to 16 so youths can be involved in decision-making and require more information on the topic in national curriculum.