New York, 20 September 2019 (dpa/MIA) – Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg said Friday she was “very hopeful” after the strong global turnout for climate protests.
“It’s incredible what we have achieved together, it’s a historic day,” she said via a live stream from New York to thousands of youth protesters in Stockholm.
The 16-year-old said that 400,000 people had taken part in protests in Australia and 100,000 in Berlin, drawing cheers and applause from the crowd in the Swedish capital.
Thunberg is in New York to address world leaders at the UN Climate Action Summit on Monday ahead of the UN General Assembly.
She will take part in a rally in lower Manhattan later on Friday, where she is to speak in front of crowds of students and workers.
Pupils from across the city have been allowed to skip class to attend the demonstration. New York’s department of education tweeted last Thursday that the city’s 1,800 schools would “excuse absences” of their 1.1 million students on Friday with parental permission.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said he supported the move, tweeting: “New York City stands with our young people. They’re our conscience.”
Thousands of students are also set to take to the streets of other US cities, which have taken a scattershot approach to permitting school absences.
Thunberg brought her climate campaign to the US after recently sailing from Europe in a zero-emissions yacht. She met former US President Barack Obama in Washington and urged lawmakers in Congress to combat rising temperatures earlier this week.
“We will put so much pressure on [politicians] that they just can’t fail,” she told protesters in Stockholm via live stream on Friday, amid chants of “Greta, Greta” and applause.
“We, people of all ages, have shown what we stand for, now it’s up to them to show that they have listened to us. Now they have to prove it,” she said.
Protesters gathered near the Swedish parliament where Thunberg last year began her weekly climate strike that inspired the global “Fridays for Future” youth-led movement.
Earlier on Friday, German Chancellor Angela Merkel praised Thunberg for her activism.
“If one thing impresses me, speaking as a scientist, then that is that Greta Thunberg says ‘Unite behind the science,'” Merkel said.
Speaking during a press conference where the German government presented a package of climate measures, Merkel said Thunberg was right to criticize politicians for ignoring scientists.
Merkel is also set to attend the UN Climate Action Summit.