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German, Philippines youths join call for climate justice

The global climate strike got under way in major German cities on Friday, September 20, 2019 with organisers expecting a mass demonstration at Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate at noon to drive home demands for political action on climate change.

Climate Strike Germany
Climate Strike in Germany

Some 200 protesters participated in a cycling demonstration from the Charlottenburg district of the German capital, riding towards the centre during the morning rush hour.

Young protesters gathered in front of the chancellery, where the cabinet was debating a key climate package.

Activists briefly blocked a major intersection near Jannowitzbruecke in the city centre.

By the time police arrived, the protesters had moved on.

Others raised a banner reading, “Clean cars are a filthy lie” on a bridge over a motorway in the south of the city.

Some 17,000 protesters gathered in Freiburg in the Black Forest as part of the global strike to press for action on climate change, police in the university city said.

Numbers were continuing to rise, a police spokesman said.

He added that many adults had joined the demonstration, which is led by the Fridays for Future movement dominated by school pupils.

“This is an impressive and strong signal from our citizens,” Freiburg Mayor Martin Horn said.

In Frankfurt, dozens of demonstrators held up traffic at Baseler Platz in the centre, causing a tailback as motorists hooted.

Thousands of protesters were expected to stream into the city centre from different directions later in the day.

According to the Fridays for Future movement, more than 530 protests were planned across Germany for the day.

The protests were taking place as the cabinet was discussing its plans to safeguard the climate, with marathon discussions overnight continuing through the morning.

Government sources told dpa that agreement on a climate package was in sight. Among the plans being discussed are raising prices for fossil and expanding renewable sources of energy.

Similarly, young environment activists in the Philippines held rallies on Friday on the first day of the Global Climate Strike.

On the University of the Philippines campus in Manila, students, environmentalists and indigenous people gathered to address the climate crisis. They held placards with slogans including “What do we want? #ClimateJustice! When do we want it? NOW!”

Students from Saint Louis University in the mountain resort city of Baguio joined a protest denouncing nations and corporations that fail to address “heatwaves, violent storms, warmer oceans, vanishing coastal towns, the extinction of species and raging forest fires.”

A series of protests is set to take place across the country from Sept. 20 to Sept. 27, organised by groups including the Youth for Strike Climate Philippines and Zero Waste Pilipinas.

“A key demand that unites all of these strikes is a call for the Philippine government to declare a climate emergency,” Youth Strike for Climate Philippines said.

The group said the activities were “in solidarity with the youth-led movement inspired by teen climate activist Greta Thunberg,” who on Friday will launch the climate strike in New York.

The Department of Education asked school officials to allow students to join local protests with parental consent.

In a joint statement, youth organisations demanded justice for the death of 30 land and environmental activists that they say were killed under the Duterte administration in 2018.

“The youth will not be discouraged from defending the rights of the people and the environment,” Madelene De Borja of the Ecological Justice League of Youth Leaders said.

Also on Friday, coinciding with the Global Climate Strike, Greenpeace Philippines formed a blockade at the Shell oil refinery in Batangas province, south of Manila, demanding accountability for the firm’s role in the climate crisis. 

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