Climate protests by school students will begin again on 20 September, one of the leaders of the campaign to call for government action to combat climate change has announced.
However the protests will take a different form, Anuna De Wever (photo, in the red jacket) said. Instead of a weekly Thursday school strike with protesters taking the day off school to march in a variety of Belgian cities, school strikes – the idea launched in Sweden by Greta Thunberg – will only take place once a month, although there will be weekly actions of another sort.
The decision to go monthly will go some way to countering widespread claims from opponents of the movement that the students are not sincere, but simply want to take Thursdays off school.
De Wever herself will not be present for three months, as she is heading by sailboat to Chile for a climate summit, together with her sister Josefien, co-leader Adelaïde Charlier and about 30 representatives of other youth protest movements in Europe. Her absence, she told De Morgen, will be an opportunity for a sort of “Anuna fatigue” to calm down, after it came to a head at Pukkelpop music festival with attacks on her and her colleagues, which have now led to a police complaint being filed.
The continuing fires burning in the Amazon rainforest highlight the need for climate action, most of the world agrees. “We were in a panic when we heard the news,” she told the paper. “What is important is that President Macron has called it an international crisis. The Amazon forest is something the whole world needs to be able to decide on. The fires affect not only Brazil, but the whole world.”
As the Youth for Climate gears up for a new term to kick off on the day of a worldwide climate strike, the Flemish climate working group, set up as one of 15 to work towards a new Flemish government agreement, met for the first time. De Wever has little optimism for its results.
“For the time being there is absolutely not enough account being taken of our climate demands, made worse by the fact that there is now a worldwide youth movement calling for serious climate policy,” she said. “And it’s absolutely not happening, and that’s completely ridiculous.”
The note produced by formateur Jan Jambon as a base for discussion, the so-called startnota – is old-fashioned and contains nothing about the systematic change that needs to take place, she said. “And that’s why we will once again be taking to the streets on 20 September.”