Swedish activist Greta Thunberg celebrated the world's climate demonstrations as a "wave of change" in front of tens of thousands of people in New York. "We are not just a couple of young people skipping school or some adults who have not gone to work - we are a wave of change, we can not stop together," the 16-year-old said cheering and applause the audience in Battery Park on the southern tip of Manhattan.
"There will be changes, whether you like it or not."
"If you belong to the small group of people who feel threatened by us, then I have very bad news for you, because this is just the beginning," she continued. "There will be changes, whether you like it or not."
Over 4 million on #ClimateStrike today. In 163 countries. And counting ...
If you belong to the small number of people who feel threatened by us, then we have some very bad news for you:
This is just the beginning. Change is coming - like it or not. #FridaysForFuture pic.twitter.com/MHGRNx1tnH
According to the organizers, about 250,000 people came to the demonstration in New York, and the mayor's office of the city spoke of about 60,000. This is not a small thing for New York, but the metropolis has also seen much larger protest trains. The demonstrators met at the city hall at noon and then moved to Battery Park. The 1.1 million students in the US metropolis were given permission to stay away from class before attending the News York demo.
At the demonstration, Thunberg wore the same sign with the Swedish inscription "School strike on the climate", which she always carries with her protests. Other demonstrators in New York held signs with slogans such as "There is no planet B" or "Give the earth a chance". The New York Mayor Bill de Blasio also marched with.
Shortly before a planned rally Thunberg said she was overwhelmed by the millions of participants worldwide. "If you see the pictures, it's hard to believe that." She hoped that this would be a "watershed moment for society", demonstrators showed how many people are involved and put pressure on politicians. "Especially before the UN climate summit".
Many heads of state and government are meeting in New York on Monday for the United Nations Climate Summit. Among them is German Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU), whose governing coalition launched a billions-worthy climate protection program on Friday. The German section of the Fridays for Future movement, founded by Thunberg, criticizes the measures as "disastrous" because they did not provide for "real climate protection".
Before the UN climate summit on Saturday there will be a separate UN climate summit for the youth. Thunberg is also invited to both events. She had launched the new global protest movement against global warming with her Friday school strikes.