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More than 30,000 students marched through the streets of Brussels Thursday for the third week in a row, demanding that world leaders take bold action to help stem the climate crisis. (Photo: @GreenpeaceEU/Twitter)

'March Now or Swim Later': As Elites Chit-Chat in Davos, Climate Strike Swells With 35,000 Students Marching in Brussels

"The word 'inspiring' doesn't even begin to cover it."

Julia Conley

Thursday's student demonstration in Brussels confirmed that the global climate strike movement is showing no signs of slowing down, with an estimated 35,000 young people marching through the European Union capital to demand that world leaders take bold action to stem the climate crisis.

The protest drew nearly three times as many marchers as last week's demonstration, when more than 12,000 people gathered in Brussels. Thursday's march was the third student strike in the past three weeks—each one significantly bigger than the last—as students across Belgium and other European countries have skipped their high school and college classes in order to shame those in power who refuse to move urgently.

"A massive mobilization once in a while, like that of December 2, is clearly not enough," Marie Hayens of the grassroots group Rise for Climate told the Brussels Times. "So we will be pressuring continuously and also outside Brussels."

Global climate action groups were among those applauding the students for continuing their direct action, which will also include a planned climate march this coming Sunday.

"The objective of the march is to challenge the Belgian government as well as the heads of state and government who will attend the European Council summit in Brussels on 21 and 22 March," Larry Moffett, one of the organizers of Sunday's march, told the Brussels Times. "The march participants will call on them to meet the target of a 65 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030."

The climate strike movement grew out of a direct action by Greta Thunberg, a 15-year-old climate activist from Sweden who skipped school in September to hold her own demonstration outside Swedish parliament.

Thunberg addressed the United Nations at COP24 in December, as well as some of the world's most powerful and wealthy political and business leaders at Davos this week—harshly criticizing them for amassing huge wealth with the help of pollution-causing industries, to the detriment of future generations. 

Thunberg also applauded the marchers in Brussels march on social media.


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