Thousands of school children took part in a protest organized by the Fridays for Future movement at Berlin’s Invalidenpark in the city center on Friday morning. They demanded changes for Germany’s and the world’s ecology policies and action designed to fight climate change effectively.
A total of 225 events of this kind took (and will take) place in just as many cities and towns all across Germany today, and even more in countless countries all over the world.
In Berlin, the location was already crowded at 10:00 a.m., when the rally officially started. But more and more students, including even first-graders, but mostly teenagers, kept on coming. Police were forced to close two streets for cars.
Hannah B., a teenage girl who co-organized the event told The Berlin Spectator, the protest was “totally cool”. She said she and other students had organized the rally via Whatsapp and social media. Also everyone involved had spoken to schoolmates about taking part.
It was overwhelming to see so many people participating, Hannah said. Asked whether she thought today’s young generation was apolitical, Hannah stated people who thought so should look at the event. The number of participants showed how much interest young people had in ecology and saving the environment.
“People should just open their eyes and see”, she said. “By the way: This kind of rally can be a lot of fun.” It obviously was to her and thousands of others.
The Fridays for Future event in Berlin was supported by adults too. A prominent TV personality, Eckard von Hirschhausen, who is also a scientist, joined the event. So did other scientists, teachers and parents, some of whom were part of the organization ‘Parents for Future’.
A primary school teacher told The Berlin Spectator, she thought skipping school for this kind of event was “totally o.k..”. Berlin’s Senator of Education Sandra Scheeres voiced a different point of view. She said she agreed with the message the participants wanted to bring across, but said taking part in a demonstration did not release anyone from compulsory education.
The protesters observed a moment of silence for the victims of today’s terror attack on praying Muslims in New Zealand.
In the meantime, the mostly very young protesters started walking the streets in Berlin’s city center. They had announced the rally would be loud and convey a clear message. The time to act was now.
“That is because we are running out of time, because we are in the middle of the biggest crisis of mankind, because we, the young generation, will have to pay for it one day”, a statement read. Inaction was not an option anymore.
Greta Thunberg, who was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize by Norwegian politicians ton Wednesday, initiated the Fridays for Future movement. Since, more and more teenage students have joined the protests and created an impressive international movement.
In some German cities and towns, the protests will commence this afternoon, meaning after school.
The first F4F protest in Berlin took place on January 18th. Since then, students have hit the streets every Friday, in order to raise awareness for the issues connected to global warming and the need for immediate action.
F4F organizers in Hamburg announced their protest would commence at 2:30 p.m. at Hachmannplatz. In the northern city, they may have wanted to prevent students from skipping school, by scheduling the demonstration in the afternoon.