‘March Now or Swim Later’: As Elites Chit-Chat in Davos, Climate Strike Swells With 35,000 Students Marching in Brussels
“The word ‘inspiring’ doesn’t even begin to cover it.”
Thursday’s student demonstration in Brussels confirmed that the global climate strike movement is showing no signs of slowing down, with an estimated 35,000 young people marching through the European Union capital to demand that world leaders take bold action to stem the climate crisis.
The protest drew nearly three times as many marchers as last week’s demonstration, when more than 12,000 people gathered in Brussels. Thursday’s march was the third student strike in the past three weeks—each one significantly bigger than the last—as students across Belgium and other European countries have skipped their high school and college classes in order to shame those in power who refuse to move urgently.
“A massive mobilization once in a while, like that of December 2, is clearly not enough,” Marie Hayens of the grassroots group Rise for Climate told the Brussels Times. “So we will be pressuring continuously and also outside Brussels.”
The climate strike movement grew out of a direct action by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old climate activist from Sweden who skipped school in September to hold her own demonstration outside Swedish parliament.
Thunberg addressed the United Nations at COP24 in December, as well as some of the world’s most powerful and wealthy political and business leaders at Davos this week—harshly criticizing them for amassing huge wealth with the help of pollution-causing industries, to the detriment of future generations.
Thunberg also applauded the marchers in Brussels march on social media.
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