Thousands of young people from schools and universities around Switzerland went on strike on Friday to demand greater action to combat climate change.
Their protest was inspired by Greta Thunberg, who began a solo climate protest by striking every Friday in Sweden in August 2018. She was invited to address last year’s climate summit (COP24) in Poland, where she accused world leaders of behaving like irresponsible children by not doing enough to address climate problems. Thunberg tweeted that she will be attending the World Economic Forum in Davos from January 23 to 25.
Thousands of students have followed her lead, striking in Australia, the United Kingdom, Belgium, the US and Japan.
On Friday, Switzerland was the stage for the latest protest, where organizers said more than 20,000 students from schools and colleges in 15 cities took part in the action. Organizers have said another strike is planned for February 2.
This is not the first protest of its kind in Switzerland. Around 1,000 school students took to the streets of Bern, as well as Zurich, St Gallen and Basel in December 2018. They were angry about the recently rejected revised Swiss CO2 law. The House of Representatives watered down and then rejected an amended law on carbon dioxide emissions during the recent winter session.
On Friday, they were joined by other student protestors in Geneva, Lausanne, Neuchâtel, Fribourg, Sion, canton Jura, Lucerne, Zug, Baden, Aargau, and Chur. Official attitudes to students taking time off to strike vary between cantonal educational authorities. Certain cantons, such as St Gallen and Valais have expressed their disapproval over the strike action.