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Youth Strike 4 Climate: Greta Thunberg speaks to 30,000 at Bristol rally

Teenage activist Greta Thunberg said she would ‘not be silenced while the world is on fire’ while addressing a 30,000 strong crowd in Bristol, before leading a march through the city.

Chants of “Greta, Greta” rang around College Green in the city centre ahead of her speech, which was organised by the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) group.

During her speech, Thunberg called out the media and politicians across the world for ignoring the emergency, saying “nothing is being done to halt this crisis, despite all the beautiful words and promises from our elected officials.”

Greta Thunberg speaks to the crowd at College Green in Bristol. Image by Hashim Al-Hashmi

“We are being betrayed by those in power, and they are failing us, but we will not back down.

In her speech, the 17 year-old referred to the cancelled expansion of Bristol Airport, which she said “shows what we do does make a difference.”

“If you look throughout history, all the great changes have come from the people, and if enough people are pushing for change, then change will come – we are those people, and every single person counts.

“This is an emergency. People are already suffering and dying from the consequences of the climate and environmental emergency.”

The crowd braved downpours of rain and strong winds to march through the city, lead by the teenage climate activist and a group of musicians, with chants of “What do we want? Climate justice. When do we want it? Now.” echoing through the city’s main shopping area.

(A group of musicians lead the march)

Many of the protesters were young children, who had taken the day off school to join the rally, and were joined by parents and grandparents, with flags and banners being waved throughout.

As the march moved through the City, protestors climbed onto bus shelters and up trees, whilst onlookers watched the rally out of office windows, and some students watched on from the warmth of their student halls.

Laura, from the Malmesbury Climate Action Network, was one of those who turned out to protest, and said it’s particularly important this year.

“This year in particular, with the Climate Change Conference coming to Glasgow, it’s really important, and it’s a chance for us to show the politicians that this is what we want, and this is what leadership looks like.”

(Laura and Francesca from the Malmesbury Climate Action Network speaking to Dan Moffat)

Following the rally in Bristol on Friday, Greta Thunberg posted this on Instagram, thanking those who turned out.

Words by Dan Moffat. Images by Hashim Al-Hashmi, Karolina Krol, Lucy North, Melisa Numan and Caitlin Bolt.

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