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by Tom Freeman
15 March 2019
Hundreds gather outside Scottish Parliament for school climate strike

School climate strike at the Scottish Parliament - Holyrood/Tom Freeman

Hundreds gather outside Scottish Parliament for school climate strike

Hundreds of pupils have walked out of school to gather outside the Scottish Parliament to raise awareness of climate change as part of a global event.

The ‘Fridays for future’ school strike was started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg and others which sees children drop their lessons to demand swifter action on climate change from governments.

Friday saw the second global coordinated event.

The children and young people in Edinburgh were joined by Edinburgh Green MSPs Andy Wightman and Alison Johnstone, while Patrick Harvie and Ross Greer joined schoolkids in Glasgow’s George Square.

Several councils have said they will mark the absences from school as ‘authorised’ for the action, including Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, Edinburgh, Eilean Siar, Fife, Glasgow, Highland and Renfrewshire.

Greer said: “The growth of the global grassroots youth climate strike movement is staggering. Just seven months on from Greta Thunberg starting her weekly protests outside the Swedish parliament there are strikes planned in over 100 countries worldwide and involving young people from every corner of Scotland.

“Those councils who’ve backed our calls not to punish schoolchildren for taking part have done the right thing, allowing their young citizens to be heard on the defining issue of their generation. It’s vital now that politicians don’t just listen – we need decisive action to stop climate breakdown.”

Kumi Naidoo, Amnesty International’s secretary general, accused governments of “playing truant” with commitments to keep global temperature rise down.

“Amnesty International stands with all children and young people who are organising and taking part in school strikes for climate action,” he said.

“This is an important social justice movement that is mobilising thousands of people to peacefully call on governments to stop climate change.

“It’s unfortunate that children have to sacrifice days of learning in school to demand that adults do the right thing. However, they know the consequences of the current shameful inaction both for themselves and future generations. This should be a moment for stark self-reflection by our political class.”

Thunberg reported that events were taking place in 2,052 places in 123 countries on all continents, including Antarctica.

“Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed. Let’s change history. And let’s never stop for as long as it takes,” she tweeted.

There were 18 locations in Scotland, including Fenwick, East Kilbride, Coatbridge, Stirling, Inverkeithing, Peebles, Fort William, Forres, St Andrews, Inverness, Ullapool, South Uist, Aberdeen, Aberdour, Kirkwall and Eigg.

Holly Gillibrand (13), from Fort William, said: "I'm not the sort of person who would consider breaking the rules in any way. But if we don't strike and demand that our leaders take action, we're not going to have a habitable planet to live on in the future.”

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