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Third climate protest strikes Newbury

Students hold third demonstration in Easter holidays

Fiona Tomas

Fiona Tomas

fiona.tomas@newburynews.co.uk

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01635 886639

Third climate protest strikes Newbury

THE Easter holidays and demands of springtime revision did little to deter a third pupil-led protest against global inaction over climate change in Newbury last week.

Nearly 100 young people gathered outside Newbury Town Hall on Friday, before marching around the town centre and congregating outside West Berkshire Council’s offices in Market Street.

The event followed two similar school-led demonstrations in February and March as part of a national movement, School Strike 4 Climate, inspired by 16-year-old Swedish green activist Greta Thunberg.

The young people waved homemade cardboard placards in the air, such as ‘Respect existence or expect resistance’ and ‘Denial is not a policy’.

“The turnout today really proves that we care about this issue,” said Isaac Fernandes, a Year 13 pupil at St Bartholomew’s School, who recorded a head-count of 95 at the protest.

He added: “Not only am I extremely proud of the students who took time out of their holidays to come out and support this movement, but also the young students who worked up the courage to speak.”

After marching down Northbrook Street and through the Parkway Shopping complex, the cohort gathered in the echo circle outside the council offices, where several speakers addressed the crowd. 

They included Year 12 St Bartholomew’s pupil Lois Ryan, who hailed the gathering as “pretty inspirational” and said highlighted how climate change remains an existential issue which the Government is failing to act upon.

Unlike the previous protests – which saw pupils put down their pens and stage a walkout on a Friday in mid-February and March – Friday’s demonstration allowed a younger contingent to take part – with many primary school pupils using their holidays to attend the event for the first time.

Among them was Aidan Flanagan, a Year 6 pupil from Hungerford Primary School, who was present with his parents Simon and Lisa and held aloft a homemade banner with the words ‘This can’t wait ‘til I’m bigger’ painted in green.

Aidan, who missed the first two strikes because of school, said: “I came along today because this is about our future.

“I don’t want my kids to be asking, ‘What were trees, dad?’.”

Louis de Chazal, a Year 5 pupil at Brightwalton Primary School, delivered his own impassioned speech in the echo circle, called ‘Once upon a time there was a planet’ – documenting a retrospective account of man’s destruction of the Earth and the urgent need to address climate concerns. 

Sixth formers Emma Hyne and Paddy Green took the train from Marlborough – where they attend St John’s secondary school – because Newbury was the nearest protest for them to take part in.

Miss Hyne said: “There’s so many people doing it.

“It’s such an important issue at the moment – so we just thought, why not join in?

“There’s a lot of inspiring people who have come to talk about this.

“It makes us want to be involved. We want to stand behind them too.”

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Article comments

  • zmjrc

    23/04/2019 - 10:10

    'Sixth formers Emma Hyne and Paddy Green took the train from Marlborough – where they attend St John’s secondary school – because Newbury was the nearest protest for them to take part in.' Anyone spot the slight flaw in this?

    Reply

    • Just An Opinion

      26/04/2019 - 14:02

      Nope! The train wasn't put on specially for them, it was running anyway and is far more eco-friendly than being driven there and back.

      Reply

  • NewburyLad

    21/04/2019 - 17:05

    Can't wait for you all to go and get angry at the biggest contributor to carbon emissions, China. You know the country with the 27% emissions compared to the UK's 1%.

    Reply

  • Chunky

    21/04/2019 - 12:12

    adults have messed up the children's future by voting to leave the EU! Why shouldn't the kids do something about the future of our planet.

    Reply

    • wayne

      23/04/2019 - 19:07

      So, Germany's economy flatter than Muttie's approval rating, France flatlining and about to go into recession, Italy, Spain and Romania now 'basketcase' economies and you think it's still a good idea to shackle yourself to a rotting corpse?

      Reply

    • NewburyLad

      21/04/2019 - 14:02

      No they bloody well haven't. Children's futures are more at risk by remaining in the failing and incredibly expensive EU.

      Reply

      • EugeneStryker

        23/04/2019 - 11:11

        The ONS reckons EU membership cost about 12p a day to a UK taxpayer earning the UK average salary - is that what you call expensive?

        Reply

      • Bombey

        21/04/2019 - 14:02

        yes things have been super since we voted to leave,

        Reply

        • NewburyLad

          21/04/2019 - 17:05

          If we had just left, as planned, we would now be moving forward at a great pace, but no, you remainer crybaby losers es led by the Tories have done your best to cause trouble since the referendum.

          Reply

        • Bombey

          23/04/2019 - 10:10

          if we had just left - how would that have worked exactly?

          Reply

        • DavidHameron

          21/04/2019 - 18:06

          Ah, the old 'put your hands over your ears and scream about China' argument. Always effective.

          Reply

        • NewburyLad

          21/04/2019 - 21:09

          Ah so the fact that China, USA, India, Russia contribute to over half the world's emissions (54%), you would rather Britain taxes itself even further and sends itself further back to the stone age, all because of our ONE PERCENT emissions? You go backwards then if you're concerned about it, you pay for it, but stop expecting everyone else (who already do pay significant green taxes) to stump up even more. When you and the lefty teachers and their gullible students actually get out from behind their placards and take the issue to China, USA, India and Russia, then your silly statement might actually have a point.

          Reply

        • DavidHameron

          22/04/2019 - 12:12

          You know all those countries are substantially bigger than the UK, right? If you look at emissions per capita we're only slightly behind China, despite relying on them for half our manufacturing.

          Reply

        • garden_gnome

          23/04/2019 - 06:06

          NewburyLad is way too far gone to listen to any sort of facts or reason ;)

          Reply

        • JamesG

          22/04/2019 - 07:07

          The UK accounts for 0.87% of the world's population, but emits 1% of the worlds Co2. Surely the problem is a shared one? We need to focus on reaching our own targets, whilst yes encouraging others to do the same.

          Reply