Students around the world kick off global climate change strike
Thousands of school students walked out of class across Australia and New Zealand on Friday as part of a global student strike against government inaction on climate change.
"Climate change is worse than Voldemort", read one student's handmade sign in Wellington, referring to the evil wizard in the hugely popular Harry Potter books and films. "The oceans are rising, so are we," read another in Sydney.
Student protests were held in capitals and cities across Australia and New Zealand from Wellington to Melbourne and Sydney, drawing tens of thousands of people, with more planned through Europe, Asia and the United States later on Friday.
The marches are part of a worldwide student strike movement, which started in August 2018 when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began protesting outside her parliament on school days. Norwegian lawmakers have nominated her for the Nobel Peace Prize.
"If we don't do something, it'll be our lives affected, not the 60-year-old politicians," said Sydney student Callum Frith, 15, who was wearing his school uniform. "We need action."
Elsewhere in Asia Pacific, around 60 students protested at Thailand's government house in Bangkok, holding cardboard signs to campaign against plastic. Thailand is one of the world's top marine plastic polluters.
"As youths who will inherit the land, we gather here to demand that the government work with us to solve these problems," said 17-year-old Thiti Usanakul of student-led group Grin Green International in a speech.
The group was later invited to meet with officials at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment in two weeks.
More than 100 students planned to gather in Seoul for a protest. In Singapore, where there are strict laws regulating public assembly, youths planned a virtual campaign on social media.