Young people defy education secretary’s plea for pupils not to miss school for climate protests

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Youth climate protesters have defied the education secreatry’s plea to demonstrate at the weekend rather than in school time.

Nadhim Zahawi urged young people not to miss school to protest about climate policies.

His plea came as youth activists are taking to the streets of Glasgow to demand action on climate change from leaders as the COP26 talks continue.

Campaigner Greta Thunberg, fellow activist Vanessa Nakate are among the young campaigners will speak to crowds at the end of the march through the city.

Asked on Times Radio whether he had been invited to join the marches, Zahawi said:

No… I have to say, I wish they were doing it on a Saturday and a Sunday, not in school time.

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Young people are taking action

Young people, however, are defying Zahawi:

Charlie O’Rourke, 14, from Glasgow, skipped school to attend the march.

He said global leaders at COP26 must “listen to the people”.

He told the PA news agency:

Listen to what they want to say. Don’t just go for profit. Listen to what the planet needs.”

Finlay Pringle, 14, from Ullapool in the Scottish Highlands, travelled by train to Glasgow with his father to take part in the march.

He said:

If you really, truly love something and you want to protect it, no matter what it is, it doesn’t have to be climate striking, but if there’s something that you love and you want to protect it, then you should do that, don’t think twice about it.

Cop26 – Glasgow
Demonstrators gathered in Kelvingrove Park in the west end of Glasgow for the Fridays for Future Scotland march (Andrew Milligan/PA)

People of all ages have joined the youth-focused protest.

Among them are a group of mothers from around the world, including Rosamund Adoo Kissi Debrah, whose daughter Ella died from an asthma attack as a result of severe air pollution.

The group will also be handing in a letter at COP26 calling for an end to new fossil fuel financing for the sake of their children’s health and future.

Friday’s protest comes ahead of marches on Saturday where tens of thousands of people are again expected in Glasgow, with other marches in London and cities around the UK, as well as across the world.

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  • Show Comments
    1. Of course what happens in Glasgow is of no concern of Nadhim Zahawi.
      Education is devolved, and the maintenance of a separate education system is one of the conditions of the Treaty of Union.
      And people wonder why many of us in Scotland want to be free of the bullying and neocolonialism of the UK (English) government.

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