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Newbury school pupils stage climate protest

Students walk out of lessons to demonstrate outside town hall as part of global movement

PUPILS from two West Berkshire schools staged a walk-out today as part of wider international student protest against climate change.

Around 50 students from St Bartholomew's School and St Gabriel's left their lessons at 11am and marched to the Market Place, where they staged a peaceful demonstration outside Newbury Town Hall.

Many held placards aloft and shouted chants condemning the government’s inaction over climate change, such as "Pollution is not the solution" before marching down Northbrook Street and around the town.

The group later stopped outside Richard Benyon's office on Park Street where the Newbury MP talked to students about environmental issues.

It follows a wave of similar demonstrations staged by thousands of school children across the country, inspired by the 16-year-old Swedish pupil Greta Thunberg who gave up going to school on Fridays last September to campaign outside the Swedish parliament against climate change.

Organisers Youth Strike 4 Climate said protests were taking place in more than 60 towns and cities across the UK.

Emily Carr, head girl at St Bart’s, addressed the crowd along with 16-year-old Lois Ryan, one of the main organisers of the event.

Steve Masters, the Green Party parliamentary candidate for Newbury also spoke, thanking the gathering cohort of students of “thinking of his children’s and grandchildren’s future.”

Pupils from St Bart’s and St Gabriel’s are the only two schools in West Berkshire known to have taken part in today’s demonstration.

See next week's Newbury Weekly News for a full report and more coverage on today's protest.

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