Demonstrators, including many young activists, in thousands turned out for rallies across Australia Friday, to demand action on climate change.
More than 800 marches were planned on Friday in the United States, expected to draw on thousands of young people skipping school. Swedish teenage activist Greta Thunberg, the figurehead of the climate school strike movement, is expected to attend a rally in New York’s Thomas Paine Park.
Similar rallies were planned in the United Kingdom, France and Germany and more than two dozen other countries.
The protests, billed as a “global climate strike,” come ahead of a planned U.N. Climate Action Summit that begins in New York on Monday. In March, a similar protest inspired by Thunberg drew crowds around the world including thousands of young students who skipped school to attend.
Organizers say some 100,000 people gathered in Melbourne, with at least 50,000 more in Sydney and thousands more in the capital, Canberra, as well as Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide, among other Australian cities.
The numbers of participants could not be immediately verified.
In Sydney, Moemoana, 18, came from Wollongong to protest on behalf of her native Samoa, one of thousands of low-lying islands around the world that are particularly threatened by rising sea levels due to climate change.
“The Pacific Islands are meters above sea level because of climate change and it’s a scary future for our islands,” she was quoted by The Guardian Australia as saying. “We want to urge people to take some action.”
18-year-old Moemoana, (centre) has come from Wollongong to the protest, and her homeland is Samoa.
“It’s a real threat and Australia needs to know that Pacifika are neighbours and Australia really needs to help out.”#climatestrike
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is in the U.S. for a state dinner with President Trump, has been criticized for not including the U.N. climate summit on his itinerary.
At least 2,000 companies in Australia gave employees time off to attend the rallies, according to The Sydney Morning Herald. Meanwhile, the country’s acting prime minister, Michael McCormack, speaking in Melbourne, expressed displeasure with students attending the protests.