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Global youth protests urge climate action

Saturday, September 21, 2019

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NEW YORK, USA (AP) — A wave of climate change protests swept the globe yesterday, with hundreds of thousands of young people sending a message to leaders headed for a UN summit: The warming world can't wait for action.

Marches, rallies, and demonstrations were held from Canberra to Kabul and Cape Town to New York, and German police reported that more than 100,000 turned out in Berlin.

'Global Climate Strike' events ranged from about two dozen activists in Seoul using LED flashlights to send Morse code messages calling for action to rescue the earth to Australia's demonstrations that organisers estimated were the country's largest protests since the Iraq War began in 2003.

“Basically, our earth is dying, and if we don't do something about it, we die,” said AJ Conermann, a 15 year old high school sophomore among several thousand who marched to the Capitol building in Washington.

“I want to grow up. I want to have a future,” Conermann added.

In New York, where public schools excused students with parental permission, tens of thousands of mostly young people marched through lower Manhattan.

“Sorry I can't clean my room, I'm busy saving the world,” one protester's sign declared.

And in Paris, teenagers and kids as young as 10 traded classrooms for the streets. Marie-Lou Sahai, 15, skipped school because “the only way to make people listen is to protest.”

The demonstrations were partly inspired by the activism of Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who has staged weekly 'Fridays for Future' demonstrations for a year, urging world leaders to step up efforts against climate change.

“It's such a victory,” Thunberg told The Associated Press in an interview in New York. “I would never have predicted or believed that this was going to happen, and so fast — and only in 15 months.”

Thunberg is expected to participate in a UN Youth Climate Summit today and speak at the UN Climate Action Summit with global leaders on Monday.

“They have this opportunity to do something, and they should take that,” she said. “And otherwise, they should feel ashamed.”


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