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    Third Brussels Youth Climate March goes global

    © Belga
    © Belga

    El Pais, Le Monde, the New York Times, The Australian, the BBC…the third Brussels Youth Climate March, which on Thursday brought together 35,000 participants, is echoed in all of the international press. “These youngsters will continue their once a week march, as long as the government takes no action,” stresses El Pais. The Spanish daily is citing Reuters, mentioning that Brussels is regularly flagged up as one of the most bottlenecked cities in Europe. 

    The New York Times, also citing Reuters, reports the clear figures for the pro-climate demonstration, also stressing the permanent congestion of the Belgian capital and Europe. “This is a sign of shame for the city where the European Union fixes European Climate Policy,” reports the American daily’s website. 

    “The third Brussels Youth Climate March was a success,” reports the Dutch daily, Algemeen Dagblad, which also mentions the various gatherings organised in other Belgian cities. No initiative of this kind has been seen in the Netherlands as yet. However, environmental organizations have planned a march in Amsterdam for 10th March this year.  

    Le Monde further mentions a “pro-climate school strikes” movement, of an unexpected magnitude, “going beyond Belgium’s traditional linguistic divisions,” youngsters coming from Flanders, Wallonia and Brussels. “Four ministers, no concrete policy,” the daily moreover reports, citing a slogan displayed by a student in Brussels. 

    “We will continue until the politicians finally act,” confided one of the youngsters on the Climate March to the BBC, which also found its way amongst the demonstration. “We came here with those in years 7 and 8. It is actually more like a school trip. Our teacher organised it so we are not missing school,” stated another student to the British channel, which was gathering information on the demonstrator motivations.

    On its website, The Australian disseminated a video of Thursday’s march. In November, thousands of pupils had also played truant across the country to demand concrete action by the Government. The movement “Strike 4 Climate Action” had been inspired by Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teenager who in a few weeks became a global figure for pro-climate militantism.

    Having inspired thousands of pupils across the world, including Belgium, Germany, Australia, Canada and Switzerland, she has called for an international school strike on 15th March. On Thursday, she moreover described as “heros” the young Belgians who had skipped classes to demand ambitious political measures against global warming. 

    The “New China Agency” (Xinhua) which had already supported the movement at the beginning of January, devoted a story to the march by 35,000 participants. “The demonstrations, five times more significant than a week earlier, gathered together students from all levels of education,” flagged up the Chinese agency, citing slogans such as “Make Belgium Great Again” or “Cool Kids Against Global Warning”. A further demonstration is due to take place, this Sunday 27thJanuary, initiated by the citizen collective “Rise for Climate Belgium”.

    Lars Andersen
    The Brussels Times