By Sophie Squire
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Global climate strikes demand ‘people not profit’

The protests linked combating climate change to fighting against war and racism
Women protesters in Bangladesh join the climate strike with banners such as "Coal power plant is not development but destruction"

Protesting as part of the climate strike in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh (Pic: Fridays For Future MAPA)

Across the world hundreds of thousands of climate activists took to the streets for the global climate strike led by young people on Friday. They marched under the slogan “people not profit.” 

Britain did not see huge mobilisations. But across Scotland hundreds joined strikes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, Falkirk, Stirling and Dumfries. 

Around 300 took part in Edinburgh. School student Yasmin told Socialist Worker that the atmosphere at the strike in Edinburgh was angry. “I think the Cop26 climate conference hasn’t changed much. The government had all these plans and promises, but I don’t see much happening. 

Yasmin added, “The anti-racist feeling at the strike in Edinburgh was really strong. There were many people loudly saying that all refugees should be allowed to come and live here and making the argument about climate refugees. 

“Many more of those who came made links between opposing climate change and opposing war, especially nuclear war. We have to keep on building the climate strikes. Our leaders want to ignore us, so we have to make our voices louder.”  

In Glasgow around 100 joined the strikes. There were speeches from the RMT and GMB unions and Stand up to Racism. Bristol saw up to 200 students and workers gather on College Green to hit back at the city’s plans to expand the airport. There were also events in Stoke and Liverpool.

Strikers marched in more than 300 locations in Germany. Organisers reported that 12,000 joined the strike in Hamburg and 2,000 in the city of Aachen.

Thousands rallied in Berlin’s government district to rage against climate change and war. Activist Clara Duvigneau, who attended the protest in Berlin, said, “We are here today to show that peace and climate justice belong together.” Protesters marched behind a banner that read “school not war.” 

Tens of thousands joined protests in Italy, with demonstrations in Milan, Rome, Florence, Naples and Bari. Extinction Rebellion (XR) activist and student at Rome University, Giorgio Speranza, told the Ansa press agency, “We are here to protest about the inaction that the government displays with regard to the climate crisis.”

“If I could speak to the world’s leaders, I’d tell them that seeking economic growth is useless if, in 30 years, there is no longer any means to obtain this economic growth. The climate crisis is much more dangerous than the politicians seem to notice,” he added. Chants on the march in Rome, which organisers said was 20,000, included, “If you burn down our future, we’ll burn down the city.” And one banner read, “The Wrong Amazon is Burning.”

Thousands took part in Vienna, Austria. Other strike locations included Japan, Sierra Leone, Bangladesh, Belgium, Ireland, Mauritius, Indonesia, Uganda, South Korea, South Africa, Philippines, United States and even within the Arctic circle in Svalbard and the Ekström Ice Shelf in Antarctica.

In Australia students organised up to 20 strikes across the country. School students in Sydney took their protest to prime minister Scott Morrison’s door. Morrison promised last year that his government would support coal mining for decades to come. 

At his Sydney residence, protesters waved banners reading “Scotty coal 4eva” and “Don’t be a fossil fool.” Natasha Abhayawickrama said, “We are angry at the Morrison government. We’re seeing climate disaster after climate disaster with bushfires and floods. “We know that fossil fuels are exacerbating these floods and these climate disasters.” 

Activists raged on the streets in several cities in Bangladesh, holding banners that read, “Coal power plant is not development but destruction.” 

In Kenya, eight separate strikes were organised. Kenyan Marine scientist Charlotte Aumann tweeted, “The climate crisis is a threat to humanity itself and we are losing our planet to capitalists. Choose life over profits. It’s our right.”

At strikes in Cape Town, South Africa, student strikers held up signs that read “socialism over capitalism” and “our people can save the world.” 

The anger at those in power over their inaction over climate change has not gone away.

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