Scotland's school pupils in second mass climate strike

Media caption,
Scotland's school pupils joined a second mass climate strike

Thousands of school pupils across Scotland have taken part in a protest to raise awareness of climate change.

Organisers said students in at least 18 areas were going on strike, inspired by the Fridays for Future movement.

Large protests took place in Glasgow's George Square and outside the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh.

A number of Scottish councils said children would not face punishment if they took part in the protests with their parents' permission.

Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images

The campaign, started by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg, saw its first global protest in February.

More than 50 countries around the world will host similar events.

School walkouts had been planned in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Fenwick, East Kilbride, Coatbridge, Stirling, Inverkeithing, Peebles, Fort William, Forres, St Andrews, Inverness, Ullapool, South Uist, Aberdeen, Aberdour, Kirkwall and Eigg.

Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images
Image source, Getty Images

This is the second global youth strike, with the first taking place on the 15 February.

The Scottish Greens estimated that 3,000 people took part in the protest in Edinburgh, and that 2,000 had gathered in Glasgow's George Square.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon tweeted her support of the pupils "taking a stand on climate change".

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Some children in the Highlands have been staging strikes for weeks.

Finlay Pringle, 11, his sister Ella and their friend Megan Ross, both nine, had been holding hour-long walkouts on Fridays in Ullapool since 14 December.

Because of his involvement in the Fridays for Future movement, Finlay represented Scotland at a meeting of more than 60 young climate change campaigners from 20 nations at the European Parliament.

Last year he challenged TV presenter Bear Grylls about his involvement with a diving with sharks aquarium experience.

Image source, BBC
Image caption,
Protestors gathered outside the Scottish Parliament
Image source, BBC
Image caption,
Protesters marched to the Scottish Parliament

Holly Gillibrand, 13, has been taking similar action at Fort William's Lochaber High School since January.

She said: "I'm not the sort of person who would consider breaking the rules in any way.

"But if we don't strike and demand that our leaders take action, we're not going to have a habitable planet to live on in the future".

Media caption,
'I'm standing up for our planet'

Pupils at Daliburgh School, South Uist, were among those in the Western Isles to hold a strike.

Méabh Mackenzie, 11, said: "I am doing this because I feel that governments are ignoring what will happen to our planet if we don't slow down global warming.

"South Uist where I live is very low lying and it wouldn't take much for it to disappear under the waves.

"I love this island and I will do anything at all so my children, my grandchildren and maybe even my great-grandchildren see how lovely this place actually is."

Image caption,
Daliburgh Primary School pupils in South Uist staged a protest
Image source, Daliburgh Primary
Image caption,
Daliburgh Primary pupils making a banner

UK youth strikes are being organised by a number of organisations including Youth Strike 4 Climate, UK Student Climate Network and the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

Campaigners said 15,000 people took part in protests in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK in February.

Now there are 1,325 events listed to take place on 15 March in 98 countries, across western Europe, the US, Brazil, Chile, Australia, Iran, India and Japan.

It will be the largest global school strike day so far.

One girl's actions

The wider global movement is known as Schools 4 Climate Action.

Greta Thunberg first skipped class to sit outside government buildings in September, accusing her country of not following the Paris Climate Agreement.

Media caption,
The Swedish teen behind the climate strikes

Since then, tens of thousands of children across Belgium, Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia have been inspired to hold their own demonstrations.

The first coordinated protest took place in the UK last month, raising much debate across the country.

Some critics called for students to be penalised for their absences.

'Courageous young people'

However, earlier this month Edinburgh City Council said pupils could attend a planned rally outside the Scottish Parliament as long as they had permission of parents or carers.

It was believed to be the first local authority in Scotland to consider such actions as an "authorised absence from school" .

The Scottish Greens claim nine councils have now indicated that pupils taking part in the protests will not face punishment.

They include: Argyll and Bute, Dumfries and Galloway, Dundee, Eilean Siar, Fife, Glasgow, Highland, and Renfrewshire.

Scottish Greens education spokesman Ross Greer said: "These courageous young people deserve to have their voices heard. It would be utterly wrong for them to be silenced through fear of punishment."