Around 600 people took to the streets of Brussels on Thursday for the latest in a series of protests aimed at drawing decision-makers’ attention to the global climate emergency.
The group, most of them Dutch-speaking students, started off at about 10:30 AM local time from the Gare du Nord and headed for the Gare du Midi, bearing the banners of the Youth for Climate, Students for Climate, Extinction Rebellion and Grandparents for Climate organisations.
Determined to spread their message but disappointed at the scant progress made since the climate demonstrations began in January last, they again brandished slogans and placards calling for greater climate goals.
The demonstrators included many young Dutch speakers slamming the “lack of ambition” of the Flemish Government, which has agreed to slash Flanders’ CO2 emissions by 80% by the year 2050, a goal far below carbon neutrality, a key objective of the struggle against global warming.
“We need to keep up the pressure, keep the media’s attention,” two students from Aalst and Antwerp said. “Let’s persevere,” added a student from the Decroly School in Uccle, surrounded by a group of friends, unfazed by the prospect of bad marks for unjustified absence after spending the morning away from school.
“The aim is keeping the climate emergency at the core of the debates, not concentrating on the number of participants,” said Youth for Climate representative Julie Schummer. Even if the marches have been attracting fewer people, “other actions are being prepared, such as building the awareness of Euro-parliamentarians and the launch of the website next week,” she added.
Some marchers, disheartened by the low impact of the demonstrations on policy, have joined the civil disobedience group Extinction Rebellion.