More than 100,000 gather in Melbourne as the world begins climate demonstrations


(CNN NEWS) — From London to New York City and from Perth to Paris, climate activists are taking part in a global general strike on Friday in what is expected to be the biggest day of climate demonstrations in the planet’s history.

Some of the first protests were held in Australia and organizers have said “well over” 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 cities and towns across the country.

Melbourne hosted the biggest march, according to organizers, with 100,000 people turning out, while 80,000 rallied in Sydney and 30,000 in Brisbane.

The Global Climate Strike is the third in a worldwide series of climate rallies organized by school students, and led by 16-year-old Greta Thunberg.

Thunberg tweeted: “Incredible pictures as Australia’s gathering for the #climatestrike … Australia is setting the standard!”

According to Swedish schoolgirl Thunberg, who is in New York ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit on September 23, around 4,638 events have been organized in 139 countries.

It is not just young people taking part this month, with labor and humanitarian groups, environmental organizations and employees of some of the world’s biggest brands also set to participate.

By going on strike on September 20 — and September 27 in a few countries — protestors hope to put pressure on politicians and policy makers to act on climate issues.

In an opinion piece for CNN, teenager Katie Eder, co-founder and executive director for Future Coalition, said climate change was “the five-alarm fire that America’s political leaders pretend not to see.”The 19-year-old added: “On Friday, we’re striking for a Green New Deal; for the immediate cessation of fossil-fuel projects on sovereign indigenous land; for environmental justice; for the protection and restoration of nature; and for sustainable agriculture.”We’re striking for ourselves, for our friends and family, for the kid who lives down the street from us. We’re striking because it’s what we have to do.”

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