Swedish activist Greta Thunberg led thousands of protesters through Brussels on Friday, wrapping up the march with a stirring speech in which she pledged to keep pushing leaders for effective climate action.
"It is shameful that we are still standing here," Thunberg said as large crowds gathered at the Brussels' Parc du Cinquantenaire to mark the end of the protest.
"It is the year 2020 and people in power are still acting as if there was no tomorrow. Well, there is a tomorrow," she said, scolding leaders for continuing to ignore the demands of young people in favour of "short term benefits."
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"We are starting to see through their lies and we will hold them accountable for their actions. We will be a constant reminder that they are failing as long as they continue down this path."
Police counted 3,400 protesters, come from all corners of Belgium and Europe to join the teen climate activist in the latest school strike for the climate in Brussels.
Thunberg led the protest alongside Belgian climate activists Adelaide Charlier and Anuna De Wever, who recently stepped down as leading figures of Belgium's Youth For Climate movement as they prepare to move their activism into the halls of the EU Parliament.
'We will continue striking for as long as it takes'
Echoing the thoughts of several demonstrators who marched alongside her on Friday, Thunberg called out EU leaders, blasting their recently unveiled Climate Law which she had previously said represented an unambitious "surrender."
"Our house is on fire. And this week the European Commission proposed a European climate law which basically says that we will once again wait a few more years before we start putting out the fire. That is not how you act in a crisis. Time is a luxury we do not have," she told the crowd.
"The older generations are failing us. They are failing future generations," the 17-year-old activist said, adding that youth activists would "be the voice" that speaks up for future generations and for the environment.
"Right now this is what we are doing, speaking up. And we will continue doing that every Friday when we strike (...) for as long as it takes, because giving up is never going to be an option," Thunberg said as she wrapped up her speech, urging fellow protesters to "prepare themselves to go on [fighting] for a long time."
The Brussels Times