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Fridays for Future protests — live updates

September 25, 2020

School students around the world have returned to the streets for a global day of climate action. It's the first Fridays for Future strike since the coronavirus pandemic forced activists to move their protests online.

Climate activists in the Philippines hold big cardboard hands saysing "act now or talk to the hand"
Image: Aaron Favila/AP/picture-alliance
  • Climate strikes are planned in more than 3,000 locations around the world
  • Activist Greta Thunberg has vowed to keep up the pressure "for as long as it takes"
  • Protesters are demanding world leaders stick to goals of the 2015 Paris deal to curb global warming

Read more​​​​​​Climate strikers are back on the streets

All times in GMT/UTC

15:31 Students from across the world have been taking part in today's school strike for climate. The movement moved online at the height of the global coronavirus pandemic. Protesters hope to find renewed momentum for their cause with these latest demonstrations. 

14:43 Youth activists in the Philippines made their voices heard with this drone video clip of their protest. It was tweeted out by Kristine Sabillo of ABS-CBN television. 


12:43 Climate change activists on the Indian Ocean island of Mauritius are using the global day of action to demand "concrete actions" to secure their future.

In a letter to the country's leaders, Fridays for Future Mauritius criticized the government's response to an oil spill from a Japanese ship that ran aground off the island's coast in July. Experts have called the spill an environmental disaster with ramifications for already vulnerable reef and mangrove ecosystems.

"Our island is threatened by the climate crisis and we will never have climate justice with poor politics and without social justice," the letter said.

Read moreWho will pay for the Mauritius oil spill?

12:15 Students in a number of African countries, including South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda, are also taking part in the Fridays for Future strike. 

Chanting "What do we want? Climate justice!" and "We are unstoppable, another world is possible!" these young people joined a rally led by Ugandan climate justice activist Vanessa Nakate.

"We're calling on our leaders to wake up," Nakate told German press agency dpa. "We want to live in a better world."

11:29 Quang Anh Paasch of Fridays for Future Germany, who is at the protest at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate, says the time for action is now.

"We are in the middle of a pandemic and we cannot forget that, but we also need to know that the climate crisis isn't taking a break," he told DW. "The climate crisis is still here, so we need to take action and demand climate action."

Climate activists old and young

Paasch urged leaders to stick to the commitments made under the 2015 Paris Agreement to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit) above preindustrial levels.

"I think society knows that we are in the middle of a climate crisis, the economy knows we are in a climate crisis, and the politicians know too, but they don't really act," he said. "So we have to demand even more." 

11:02 Thousands of people are attending rallies all over Germany as part of a global call for action on climate change. 

Around 2,200 people marched through the streets of the northern city of Bremen, according to police.

Protesters fill a street in Cologne
Fridays for Future protesters fill a main street in CologneImage: Rolf Vennenbernd/dpa/picture alliance
A protester in Berlin holds a sign saying "Don't go breaking my heart"
Protesters in Berlin were asked to wear masks and adhere to social distancing rulesImage: Kay Nietfeld/dpa/picture alliance

Meanwhile, some 10,000 were expected to attend a sit-in at Berlin's Brandenburg Gate.

A similar turnout was expected at a protest in the northern port city of Hamburg.

Rallies also went ahead in the western cities of Essen, Aachen, Düsseldorf, Mainz, Cologne and Bonn. 

10:31 Climate activists in the Philippines have joined the international climate strike. 

Protester Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, said her government was failing to protect people from the both the climate and coronavirus crises.

A climate protester wearing a mask holds up a yellow hand
'Talk to the hand': Mitzi Jonelle Tan, 22, is striking in Quezon City in the PhilippinesImage: Aaron Favila/AP/picture-alliance

"With the COVID-19 crisis, we've really been forced to see how disproportionate the impacts of any crisis is," she said. "They are still prioritizing the rich over the poor, they are still not listening to the science."

10:16 Scientists in the Arctic and Antarctic are also lending their support to the striking students. 

Researchers warn that rising temperatures are causing ice coverage to shrink, speeding up ocean warming and leading to sea level rise. 

09:54 German Economy Minister Peter Altmaier says the Fridays for Future strike is fitting given that "Germany is facing an enormous transformation."

"This issue belongs on the agenda," he told Deutschlandfunk radio. If "it's not possible to make all these industries climate-neutral, then they won't be able to function successfully in the long run."

But the minister added that huge change cannot happen overnight, and that workers' concerns should be taken seriously in tandem with ambitious targets to reduce emissions. 

"My plea is that we will not allow our strong economy, for which we are admired worldwide, to crash and suffer irreversible damages in this crisis," he said.

09:11 DW reporter in Berlin Giulia Saudelli says people are starting to gather in front of the capital's iconic Brandenburg Gate, where the biggest protest in the country is expected to take place.

Some 10,000 people have registered, although rainy weather may impact the turnout. Protesters are planning to hold a sit-in at the landmark to call for more urgent government action to combat climate change. 

"Young protesters here have told me that they are finally glad to be on the streets again," Saudelli said. "During the coronavirus pandemic the climate issue, they say, has been forgotten."

08:56 German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze says she is "grateful" for the Fridays for Future movement because it has helped advance climate policy.

"Last year, we probably made more progress in climate policy than ever before in a comparable period," she told Focus magazine.  

She stressed that climate protection was a government priority and that it had a "central role in the coronavirus economic stimulus package."

German lawmakers last year approved plans to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 55% of 1990 levels by 2030. They also set a goal to phase out coal by 2038, but activists warn the measures are not enough to mitigate climate change.

Climate protesters in Seoul
Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/picture alliance

08:25 Friday's international protest actions range from rallies and sit-ins to online discussions and other events. In South Korea, these activists staged a skit to represent the burning Earth behind a sign that reads: "Climate crisis emergency."

07:31 Around 80 strikes are planned in Sweden, Greta Thunberg's home country. 

The 17-year-old climate activist joined several other protesters outside the parliament building in Stockholm holding her now famous sign: "Skolstrejk för klimatet" (school strike for the climate).

"The main hope is, as always, to try to have an impact on the level of awareness and public opinion so that people will start becoming aware," Thunberg told reporters.

"In Sweden gatherings over 50 people are not allowed due to COVID-19, so we adapt," she added on Twitter. 

07:23 Prominent German climate activist Luisa Neubauer says the government's "lack of interest in a secure future for our generation" has left young people no choice but to take to the streets. 

"We'll strike with distance and masks," she told the German press agency dpa, adding that the protests should represent "responsible, democratic resistance of a united society," in contrast to some of the gatherings against coronavirus measures that have drawn large crowds in recent weeks.

Read more: Opinion: Global climate strikers take on inactive leaders

06:57 Protests are set to take place in more than 450 cities and towns across Germany.

Several thousand people are expected to attend a sit-in at Berlin's Brandenburg gate, with organizers urging demonstrators to keep their distance and wear masks.

Protesting cyclists are also expected to ride through the capital in groups.

A planned rally at Munich's Theresienwiese  — home of the famed Oktoberfest — has been capped at 500 participants.

Read moreHow successful are international climate efforts?

06:35 Students across Asia — from Japan and South Korea to the Philippines and Bangladesh — are joining the climate strike.

These South Korean protesters, wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection, gathered near the government complex in Seoul to make their voices heard: 

Protesters wearing face masks to protect themselves from coronavirus infection
Image: Ahn Young-joon/AP/picture alliance

05:55 Students across Australia kicked off Friday's day of climate action, with more than 500 events across the country.

"The pandemic hasn't slowed us down," 17-year-old Sydney protest organizer Veronica Hester told the German press agency dpa.

Gatherings were limited to smaller groups in line with COVID-19 rules. 

Climate protesters march through Sydney's city center
The student protest in Sydney's city center was much smaller than the huge crowds seen in last year's strikesImage: Dean Lewins/AAP/imago images

In Sydney's city center, protesters chanted "The youth are rising! No more compromising!" and waved held up posters urging Prime Minister Scott Morrison to move away from coal and gas and invest in clean energy.

Fifteen-year-old activist Ambrose Hayes rode on a barge through Sydney Harbor to protest against investment in gas.

Climate activist Ambrose Hayes rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor
Climate activist Ambrose Hayes, 15, rides on a barge in Sydney Harbor Image: Jill Gralow/Reuters

"I am here because I am fed up with the Australian government's inaction on the climate crisis," he told Reuters news agency. "We need to act now before it's too late."

"We're going to face more intense droughts, more intense fires ... these are just going to happen more and more and we're not going to stop it if we don't take action now."

Catastrophic bushfires last summer have put climate change sharply into focus in Australia, where the conservative government continues to support the fossil fuel industry.

Read more'Wildfires are climate fires': How to talk about climate emergency  

05:45 The coronavirus pandemic came as a blow for climate protesters, forcing them to move their activism online.

Although students are returning to the streets, Friday's global strike is taking place with strict social distancing and hygiene measures in place, and won't come close to last year's mass demonstrations. Will the Fridays for Future movement be able to bounce back after the pandemic? Read more here. 

05:30 Young people in cities around the world are joining a global strike for the climate. 

Environmental activist Greta Thunberg, who began the school strike movement known as Fridays for Future, tweeted: "We will be back next week, next month and next year. For as long as it takes."