The co-founder of the Youth for Climate movement in Belgium will leave the group’s leadership amid tensions with fellow leader Anuna De Wever, but will remain active in the larger climate movement.
In a statement published on Twitter at the weekend, 20-year-old Kyra Gantois said she was “tired of being treated like a piece of dirt,” according to De Standaard.
Gantois, who has received less media attention than De Wever, said that, as the group gained attention, she saw her role diminish even though she continued playing a leading role in the weekly school strikes which saw hundreds of students take to streets throughout the spring to demand political action on climate.
“What nobody saw is that I organized almost everything behind the scenes and that I also had things to say and that I never had the chance to do so,” she wrote, according to the outlet.
Mijn kant van het yfc-verhaal. pic.twitter.com/bc1pnAaSnd
— Kyra Gantois (@kyragantois) August 25, 2019
Gantois’ announcement follows media reports during past weeks which cited tensions between her and the more prominent figure of De Wever, which reportedly came to a head during music festival Pukkelpop, where De Wever was threated and harassed.
Amid the fallout from the events, De Wever announced she would be leaving for an extended sailing trip to the COP25 in November, which she said will allow for a sort-of respite for what the 17-year-old described as “Anuna fatigue.”
The youth for climate protests school strikes are set to return in September, when the students go back to school, but will take up a new form in order to fend off criticism that their strikes were only an excuse for the group to take a day off school.
In the statement, Gantois said that she doubts she will return to the group’s leadership but that she will continue to pursue her climate goals and to show up during the marches.
The Brussels Times