Belgian students’ pro-climate marches growing


In this 11 January 2019 Belgian TV video, 17-year-old student Anuna De Wever is interviewed.

She was one of the organizers of the 10 January 2019 anti-climate change march in Brussels by 4,000 striking students.

This video is about that 10 January Brussels demonstration.

This video is about a strike and march on the same day by over 550 students in Kortrijk, a much smaller city than Brussels.

This is another, 12 January 2019, interview with Ms De Wever. She is asked why students go on strike. She replies there have been earlier, big pro-climate marches in Belgium, not during school hours, but the government did not listen. So, the struggle has to become more confrontational.

And today, the anti-climate change movement became even bigger.

17 January 2019 Brussels striking students demonstration, photo NOS/Bijou van der Borst

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

More than 12,000 Flemish young people skip school today to draw attention to their demands of a more ambitious climate policy. They march past European Union institutions in a long demonstration from Brussels Central Station.

Brossen voor de bossen, is the slogan: truancy for the forests. That started exactly a week ago, with a modest demonstration of 3000 students.

Not 3,000, but 4,000, according to (right-wing) Belgian daily Het Laatste Nieuws.

Yesterday, the 17-year-old organizers of that protest, Anuna De Wever and Kyra Gantois, had a meeting with three ministers. They were given a powerpoint presentation in which the Belgian climate policy was explained, but afterwards they were not convinced.

Because they believe that measures to prevent global warming must be taken more quickly, they are taking to the streets again today, together with thousands of others. This time the protest is more organized and pupils have come forward in schools to organize actions.

Cardboard signs

In the train from Antwerp the protest starts already. Young people with cardboard signs on their laps sitting between businessmen on their way to work, while the students shout “Brossen voor de bossen”. They also dance in the corridors to music by Bob Marley.

“We want to organize more and get action also outside school days,” says Roel Segers of Heilig Graf, a school in Turnhout. “This is how politicians will see that we mean it and this is not just playing truant.” Next Sunday, we want to organize a cleanup action in our village. ”

Some school managements support the protest, but not all. Students who have an exam today and are not present will get a zero grade. Teachers who support the protest ask their students to make a selfie in Brussels as proof, with the railway ticket on the photo.

Railway ticket

Parents also seem to be divided over the demonstration. A student reports that his parents blocked his bank account so that he could not buy a train ticket. His friends donated the amount so that he could still come to Brussels.

There will be a new demonstration in Brussels next week.

This 18 December 2018 video shows a speech by Swedish 15-year-old climate activist and striking student Gretha Thunberg at the COP24 climate summit.

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