Belgian students joined thousands of others worldwide in marching away from school and into the streets on Friday, in a global school strike which coincided with the last Youth for Climate March in Brussels before a major election at the weekend.
Protesters began gathering in Brussels’ Gare Centrale at around noon, preparing to depart on their march headed to the Tour & Taxis area to the north of the city.
Large chanting crowds carrying international flags and signs set off from the station at around 13:00.
Groups of children equipped with megaphones chanted messages and carried signs calling for political action on climate.
In Antwerp, around 700 people headed to the train station to join the march in Brussels, according to reports.
It’s starting, & it’s going to be massive! #Brussels is ready for the 2nd #GlobalClimateStrike, urging EU leaders to #WakeUp & #ActOnClimate! #ClimateJustice now!??⌛✊ #FridaysForFuture #YouthStrike4Climate #ClimateStrike #EUelections2019 #VoteForClimate @GretaThunberg pic.twitter.com/WvwuO0CGgY
— Maria Green (@MariaHennaG) 24 de mayo de 2019
The Youth for Climate March, ongoing for weeks in the Belgian capital, has been largely supported by Anuna De Wever, a 17-year-old Flemish student who has become a key figure in the Belgian movement.
This Friday, the march coincided with the second global school strike for climate, an international youth movement denouncing political inaction on climate, spearheaded by another young activist, Swedish climate defender Greta Thunberg.
As Belgians this weekend head to the polls to elect European and Belgian federal and regional leaders, the events will aim to put pressure on politicians to take action on global warming and climate change.
“They can’t vote, you can,” was one message written on the signs.
Thousands of people could be seen in and around the Gare Centrale in videos shared on social media as the march prepared to set off.
The event will be ongoing until about 15:00 and is expected to cause traffic disruptions, according to information shared by police on Twitter.
Around the world, students in cities like London, Pisa, Hamburg, Sydney, Istanbul, Paris took to the streets alongside young Belgians, who will take part in a musical event called “Make noise for Climate,” once they reach their final destination in Tour & Taxis.
— Xavier Damman (@xdamman) 24 de mayo de 2019
— Koen Stuyck (@KoenStuyck) 24 de mayo de 2019