Greta Thunberg Bristol climate strike: “Greta, Greta” chants welcomed the teenager. There were some 15,000 people at the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate (BYS4C) event, which she addressed.
She held politicians and the media responsible for ignoring climate emergency and “sweeping their mess under the rug.”
“We are the change, and change is coming whether you like it or not,” the Swedish environmentalist said.
Before leading a march through the city, Greta was speaking at the climate strike event on College Green.
“Activism works, so I’m telling you to act,” she said. “We are being betrayed by those in power.”
Despite wet weather, thousands of people turned out for the 17-year-old, Greta who came up on stage at about 11:45 GMT.
“Our leaders behave like children, so it falls to us to be the adults in the room. They are failing us, but we will not back down,” Greta told the crowds.
“It should not be this way, but we have to tell the uncomfortable truth. They sweep their mess under the rug and ask children to clean up for them.
“This emergency is being completely ignored by the politicians, the media, and those in power.
“Basically, nothing is being done to halt this crisis despite all the beautiful words and promises from our elected officials.
“So what did you do during this crucial time? I will not be silenced when the world is on fire.”
Greta walked at the front of the crowds with a green banner reading Skolstrejk for Klimatet in Swedish means School Strike for Climate.
Protesters from every age group, including youngsters dressed as the activist, waved flags, banners, and placards while marching.
Annie, a 21-year-old Bristol University student, was among many others who turned out to hear Greta and took a day off from her studies for participating in the event.
“This is probably one of the most important things that we should be focussing on right now. Showing support and that you want change will make people higher up realize that as well.
“One day off school is a good enough sacrifice for what this is standing for. It’s just one day, it’s not going to do any harm.”
Jerry and her baby, Leon, also joined the throng of people.
“What an absolutely wonderful experience. Everyone was really respectful and there were loads of lovely teens passionate about climate.”
Sisters, Alannah (10 yrs) and Lottie Hoey (8yrs) traveled from Henleaze with the family to be part of the day.
“I wanted to go and see Greta because she’s very inspirational and does so much good for the planet,” said Alannah.
Lottie added: “We want a nice planet when we grow up, so it’s important to do things like Greta.”
Greta had intended to visit London, but organizers recommended Bristol instead of the capital as the area planned for the protest was considered too small.
According to Police, the number attended was 15,000, although organizers believe the figure is closer to 30,000. BYS4C said it had drafted in more than 80 stewards and has a sectioned-off “safe zone” for young children as well as an accessibility area.
Mya-Rose Craig, the youngest person to be awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bristol, addressed the crowd before Greta’s arrival on stage.
She said: “Greta, welcome to our amazing city, and thank you for being with us today. We have to engage with all of our communities in order to properly fight climate change.
“An unequal world can never be a sustainable one.”
It was two years ago when Ms Thunberg started missing lessons on Fridays to protest outside the Swedish parliament building, and that turned out to be the beginning of a huge environmental movement.
Since then, she has become a leading voice for action on climate change and inspired millions of students to join protests globally.
Just after first light protesters started gathering and by the time Greta walked onstage, one could hardly see the floor of College Green.
No vantage point was vacant that people could not occupy, including the balcony at the front of the Marriott Royal and on tiptoes before the cathedral.
When Greta took over the microphone, the roar echoed across the green, and her speech was supported with roars of approval, especially when she mentioned the decision not to grant Bristol Airport planning permission to expand.
The majority of the crowd were young and took a day off school following the teenager’s footsteps to stop attending school to continue her campaign. There were also plenty of parents and adults who had come to hear Greta speak.
The crowd took over the heart of the shopping quarter by chanting and clutching homemade signs.
While the march took place, 20 and more road closures were in operation across the city. However, all routes were again opened at 15:30 GMT.
Meanwhile, Jon Usher from the charity Sustrans has set up a crowdfunding campaign for raising money for grass replantation on College Green, which was turned to a muddy quagmire after the rally.
Greta left Bristol at about 15:00 as per the information given by Avon and Somerset Police.