From Strasbourg to Berlin, "Fridays For Future" mobilises thousands of people for the climate
On the occasion of International Climate Day, the Fridays for Future movement, initiated by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg in 2019, called for a global mobilization of youth on Friday, September 15. Rallies were held around the world. RFI was in Strasbourg and Berlin.
Climate protests took place everywhere, Friday, September 15, 2023, like here in Berlin. AP - Markus Schreiber
By: RFI Follow
In Strasbourg, about thirty high school and university students demonstrated, but on bicycles, noted our correspondent Wyloën Munhoz-Boillot. The procession set off from the university campus. Claire Guillaume, an astrophysics student, heads the local branch of Fridays For Future, which initiated the mobilization.
Strasbourg is a city where many students are cycling. So we wanted to give a new impetus to the movement by taking a bike tour to change our habits. That it's a little more dynamic, more fun too and to make noise in the city with the doorbells, "she explains.
A sign or microphone in one hand, handlebars in the other, protesters marched across the city, pausing in front of schools and high schools to encourage other young people to join them. "We are young, we still have time, we have energy. That's why you have to spend it. Then there is leisure. But climate change won't wait, so join us! ", challenges Marion Rudloff, final year student and member of the Young Ecologists of Alsace.
Arrived in front of the prefecture, the organizers of the demonstration got off their mounts and took the microphone to discuss their priority: the thermal renovation of buildings. Félix, member of Fridays For Future France: "The building sector accounts for 25% of our greenhouse gas emissions in France. 21.5 million homes need to be renovated to meet the Paris Agreement and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.»
The young activists also called for the energy and climate programming law, which has been repeatedly postponed, to be debated quickly.
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In Germany, young people want to "make the coalition act"
Across the Rhine, where the Fridays For Future movement is particularly strong, 240 actions were planned, including the largest in Berlin. The organizers claim 24,000 participants, the police 12,000. They were thousands in front of the Brandenburg Gate in Berlin, above all young people but not only, reports our correspondent Pascal Thibault. Many organizations called for protests. "We are here for the 13th day of the climate strike," shouts one young woman. On a large banner, one calls for "the end of fossil fuels".
Olaf Scholz's government is in the crosshairs of protesters who are demanding greater climate efforts from him. We feel it in the face of the current gloom, the ruling coalition does not want to hurt too much its voters who have other concerns.
We have lived through two years of permanent disappointment, says Pit Terjung, spokesperson for Fridays For Future in Berlin. Today, we are here to channel these disappointments into a very powerful political message that can make this coalition act and therefore the appeal to the Chancellor is very clear. Despite the current polls, there is still a very clear majority of the German population who want a government that acts for the climate.»
Fridays For Future, criticized for nice demonstrations but which would remain without effect, believes to have contributed to the adoption of the exit of coal or the climate law of the current government.
But this morning in a poll, three-quarters of Germans said that the movement's action did not influence their perception of climate issues. And in recent months, it is the more radical organization Last Generation that has made headlines with street blockades. Unpopular actions from which Fridays For Future has distanced itself.
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