September 27, 2019

Over six million people demand action after week of climate strikes

Europe – Today climate strikers once again took to the streets to demand climate justice and an end to the age of fossil fuels – final numbers are still being confirmed but at a total of over 6 million participants and counting, the week of climate strikes is on par with the 2003 anti-Iraq war protest as the largest coordinated global protest in history. Students, parents, trade unions, businesses, health workers, scientists, celebrities, people of all backgrounds, ages, regions and faiths came together in the streets to take part in the biggest climate protests ever seen.

From 20th to 27th of September, over 1 million people took to the streets in Italy, 1.4 million in Germany, 535,000 in the United States, 350,000 in Australia and another 350,000 in the United Kingdom, 195,000 in France, 170,000 in New Zealand, 150,000 in Austria, 50,000 in Ireland, 70,000 in Sweden, 35,000 in the Netherlands, 20,000 in Brazil, 21,000 in Finland, 15,000 in Peru, 13,000 in Mexico, 10,000 in Denmark, 10,000 in Turkey, 10,000 in Pakistan, 13,000 in India, 6,000 in South Korea, 6,000 in Hungry, 5,000 in Japan, 5,000 in South Africa, 3,500 in Chile, 3,000 in the Pacific, 2,000 in Singapore and much more. Climate strikes are still taking place, and are planned, in countries including Spain, Portugal, Switzerland, Canada, Argentina and Chile.

More than 6,135 events have been held in 185 countries all over the globe, with 73 trade unions, 820 civil society organisations, 3,000 companies and 8,500 websites all participating. Today record-breaking numbers of people joined actions across Europe with 200,000 people in Rome, 150,000 in Milan, 50,000 in Florence, 15,000 in Bologna, 18,000 in Helsinki, 30,000 in Stockholm, 6,000 in Budapest, 60,000 in Vienna, and 25,000 in The Hague.  

“Five climate heroes arrived in The Hague today after striking from school for a week and walking over 120 kilometers across the Netherlands to demand urgent climate action. They joined thousands of adults, workers, teachers and children for the largest climate mobilisation our country has ever seen in the political centre of the Netherlands,” said Liset Meddens, Fossielvrij NL. “We’ve had enough of fine words from politicians, our government must urgently deliver just and ambitious climate policies.”  

On Friday more than 1 million people turned out for more than 180 climate strikes in Italy alone. The country’s largest trade union, CGIL with 5 million members, is in full support of the strikes and as a result, thousands of teachers, research workers and university staff joined the mass mobilisation. The actions in Italy were endorsed by the Minister for Education, Lorenzo Fioramonti, who described the student-led strikes as “essential” because our future is “threatened by environmental devastation and an unsustainable economic growth model”.

“We decided to organise assemblies and other forms of mobilisation because we want to have an open conversation in workplaces about the climate crisis and about what trade unions can do to help tackle it,” said Simona Fabiani, Department for Environment, Culture and Development Affairs at CGIL (Italy’s largest trade union). “At the national level, we’re calling on the Italian government to abandon fossil fuels and invest in an ambitious plan for a just transition.”

From the Netherlands to the UK to France climate strikers have targeted iconic cultural institutions like the Louvre, that are continuing to pocket dirty oil money. They are demanding that museums, galleries and arts associations drop their fossil fuel sponsors. A common theme that emerged from the climate strikes was the need to tackle the financial links between fossil fuel firms and our public institutions. In Paris, Luxembourg and Berlin, strikers have taken action to tell the European Investment Bank, the world’s largest public lender, to adopt a revised energy policy that would cut funding to fossil fuel projects across Europe and around the world.

Nick Bryer, Europe campaigner at explained, “in just a couple of weeks, EU member states need to decide on a new energy lending policy for the European Investment Bank. But the governments of countries like Germany and Italy are trying to water down the proposal, leaving the backdoor open for dangerous new fossil gas projects. If they want to be seen as credible leaders, then there is simply no way they can justify using public money to fund climate-wrecking fossil fuels. This is a perfect opportunity for them to show that they’re hearing the strikers’ message, and that they’re finally going to start taking the climate crisis seriously.”

There is no time left to lose. This week the IPCC launched a new scientific report (signed off by governments) on climate change impacts, it reveals that unless we phase out fossil fuels, we’re looking at extensive ecosystem loss, water stress and potentially hundreds of millions of people displaced due to sea level rise. Fortunately people across Europe, and around the world, are joining the fight for climate justice in numbers never seen before, at the most critical hour.

“The path forward is clear: stopping all subsidies and end funding to the fossil fuel industry,” said May Boeve, Executive Director at “Anything short of this would mean betraying once again the millions that have gone on strike for the climate this week. To fossil executives and those in power, we say: ‘How dare you!’ You knew, you lied and we will make you pay for the crisis you have created.”

Notes to the editor

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