Socialist Worker

Big strikes and protests in New Zealand kick off day of action over climate change

by Sarah Bates
Issue No. 2674

Protesting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday as part of the global climate strike

Protesting in Auckland, New Zealand, on Friday as part of the global climate strike (Pic: School Strike 4 Climate NZ)


A huge climate strike has hit New Zealand, where 170,000 people have walked out to demand climate justice.

It’s part of the latest wave of the global climate strike, and more walkouts were due to take place later today. Action is also taking place in 27 other countries including Italy, Chile, Morocco, the Netherlands and India.

In Canada, demonstrations are set to be massive, with leader Greta Thunberg attending the Montreal rally.

Over 80,000 activists marched in Auckland and 40,000 people were reported on the Wellington mobilisation.

It’s the third New Zealand strike and by far the biggest to date—initial reports suggest 3.5 percent of the population took to the streets. Striking workers joined the action.

In Auckland, workers at the SkyCity casino joined the demonstration holding placards demanding, “Buses not bosses.”

Workers there are fighting for better weekend wages. Their central demand is for SkyCity bosses to provide free public transport for workers undertaking unsocial hours.

A letter demanding the New Zealand government declare a climate emergency was delivered to parliament on Friday morning.

“Our representatives need to show us meaningful and immediate action that safeguards our futures on this planet,” said Raven Maeder, School Strike 4 Climate national coordinator.

“Nothing else will matter if we cannot look after the Earth for current and future generations. This is our home.”

Worldwide

More than 40 events organised by school students took place in New Zealand. The latest walkouts round off a week of climate action kickstarted by a four million-strong worldwide walkout last Friday.

In Chile activists plan to march past the headquarters of Ecopetrol—the country’s largest petrol firm.

Activist Susana Muhamad said, “We want to keep fracking out of the country and demand an immediate change towards decarbonisation.”

Students and workers in Chile continue to resist despite an estimated 734 activist deaths in the first nine months of this year.

In Italy, it’s estimated that over one million people marched. Organisers say the Rome mobilisation was 200,000-strong, followed by 150,000 people in Milan while around 80,000 marched in Naples.

Huge crowds rallied in the Netherlands, and thousands of protesters led by school students took to the streets on The Hague.

“It is time for politicians, locally in The Hague, in Europe and worldwide, to wake up and work on a better policy to stop the climate crisis,” said Fridays for Future Netherlands.

“By striking for the climate, we want to create a clear turning point in history. We strike to show that we can no longer ignore it.”

The strikes on Friday conclude an historic week of action that changes the terrain on how to fight for climate and ecological justice.

It has to be the beginning, not the end, of a process that pulls more people into the movement to win a more sustainable world.


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