Youth organizers of a Friday climate protest in Bristol, United Kingdom said they have "no time for being patronized" after local police sent a letter to parents warning of inadequate safety measures for the upcoming demonstration, which teenage activist Greta Thunberg and thousands of others are expected to attend.
"Social media has gone viral with interest, which leads me to believe it will be thousands of people," wrote Bristol police commander Andy Bennett. "We have confirmation of people traveling from across the U.K. by car, bus, coach, and train. I am told in Hamburg approximately 60,000 came to see Greta speak. Whilst I am not suggesting it will be this big, you can see the scale of the potential attendance."
Bennett warned of the "potential for trips, slips, falls, and crushing" and urged attendees to take extra precautions.
Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate, which organized the demonstration, tweeted Thursday that authorities' safety concerns are exaggerated.
In response to #BBC article. We've got...
60 metres of festival barriers
2 events companies supplying gear
A safe zone at the front sectioned off for young children
An accessibility area
No time for being patronisedhttps://t.co/jvvLWN7lrh
— Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (@bristolYS4C) February 26, 2020
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"But of course," the group added in a follow-up tweet, "in a public event everyone should also be aware of their personal safety at all times. Be kind to others and look out for each other."
Thunberg announced her plans to attend the demonstration in a tweet last Saturday. The Telegraph reported Thursday that the world renowned 17-year-old climate activist "had originally intended to visit London, but as the area planned for the protest in the capital was too small the organizers had recommended Bristol instead."
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) February 22, 2020
In a joint statement Wednesday, Bennett and Bristol City Council executive director Mike Jackson said the youth-led demonstration will likely cause "major disruptions."
"We have seen a number of protests over the last year. However this one will be significantly larger," said Bennett and Jackson. "Please do not underestimate the scale of this protest."
Willow, a 15-year-old activist from Gloucestershire who plans to skip school to attend the protest, told The Guardian that the expected size of the demonstration "shows that young people should not be underestimated—we have a voice and we are strong."