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Germany: Hundreds of Thousands to Join ‘School Strike for Climate’

In far more than 400 German towns, including the largest cities, hundreds of thousands of people are expected to join the Fridays for Future movement for its ‘School Strike for Climate’ on Friday. This time, adults were invited to take part.

Now that the summer vacations have ended in all 16 federal states within Germany, Fridays for Future is getting up to speed again. The student movement did continue its protests during the holidays, but the upcoming one is supposed to dwarf most past events. This is the big one.

‘Biggest Crisis of Humanity’

Fridays for Future specifically invited adults to take part in its protests all over Germany tomorrow. At the same time, numerous organizations, including environmentalist NGOs and even the largest unions appealed to their members to participate. The rallies on Friday are part of a worldwide “climate strike”.

“Everyone come along”, the organizers in Berlin said. “Bring your colleagues, friends, family. Let’s show the politicians that things can not go on this way”, a statement read. “We are confronted with the biggest crisis of humanity, but the politicians are just watching it happen.”

Greta Thunberg joined this Fridays for Future protest in Berlin a few months ago. Photo: Imanuel Marcus

Fridays for Future, a student movement initiated by the Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, told people to just stop working. “Or convince your boss to give you time off for the protest. Friday is the day! We need everyone, including adults, students and grandparents, workers and NGOs.”

Church Bells to Ring in Hamburg

Tomorrow’s protests coincide with a meeting of the cabinet’s climate panel in Berlin. Germany’s federal government intends to approve a package of measures designed to make sure the country meets its climate goals until 2030, which include a substantial decrease of CO2 emissions. To the protesters, the government’s steps do not go far enough.

In Berlin, the protesters are scheduled to meet at Brandenburg Gate on Friday, September 20th, 2019, at 12 noon. After listening to speeches, the rally will move through Berlin’s city center (‘Mitte’) and return to Brandenburg Gate later.

A Fridays for Future Rally in Berlin, in March of 2019.

‘Jungernfernstieg’ at the Alster lake, is the meeting point for Hamburg‘s ‘Climate Strike’ protest, which is scheduled to commence at noon as well. Shortly before, Lutheran churches will ring their tower bells. Apart from them, NGOs such as Greenpeace and BUND, as well as the unions DGB, IG Metall and ver.di are supporting the protests.

Problem with Support from Radicals

But all the support leads to issues too. Radical left-wing organizations were using the protests to gain access to the mainstream, Hamburg’s Office for the Protection of the Constitution warned. Before, the ‘Interventionist Left’ had vowed to “paralyze traffic” in the city. In Berlin, there were similar concerns.

‘Avaaz’ is among the supporters of the Berlin rally. This organization supports the boycott movement against Israel, which is considered to be antisemitic. On its website, ‘Avaaz’ writes about “the brutality of Israel’s military dictatorship” and spreads other conspiracy theories about the only predominantly Jewish state in the world.

In Munich, tomorrow’s protest starts at ‘Königsplatz’ square at noon, in Stuttgart the rally commences at 11:30 a.m. at ‘Kernerplatz’. Frankfurt‘s version of the demonstration begins at ‘Alte Oper’ at noon. And in Cologne, things are scheduled to happen starting at 11:00 a.m. at ‘Hans Böckler Platz’. Up to 450 towns and cities are taking part.

On Sunday, September 22nd, an international ‘Car-Free Day’ is supposed to take place. But this event does not seem to be organized too well. Neither is there a central website, nor too many announcements.