Poor mobilization in France for youth strikes for the climate

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Hundreds of demonstrators gathered this Friday, September 23 in several major cities in France for the new world day of strikes for the climate. Unlike previous years, the enthusiasm was not really there.

The new world day of strikes for the climate has failed to mobilize young people in France, where the movement launched by Greta Thunberg, brought together only a few hundred people at most on Friday in large cities, far from the dozens of thousands of 2019 protesters.

In Paris, the procession organized by “Fridays for future France” brought together 200 to 300 people in the afternoon, according to an AFP journalist, far from the 1,600 demonstrators recorded last March or the 29,000 to 40,000 walkers. during the first world march in March 2019.

Another march is however planned for Sunday in the capital, as well as in several cities, organized this time by “Youth for Climate France”, another organization also presenting itself as the French branch of the movement created by Greta Thunberg. “To those who want to pollute the world, young people respond: resistance,” chanted the demonstrators, joined by political activists from the Young Ecologists or France Insoumise.

“Ignoring”

The “movement is turning into anger,” said Green MP Sandrine Rousseau, who came to support the young people mobilized. “We absolutely need them, because inside the National Assembly, there is a form of ignorance of the seriousness of climate change,” she denounced.

“Fridays for future France” had also called for marking the world day by demonstrating at 11:30 a.m. in front of the town halls instead of going to class. In Lille, a hundred young people gathered in front of the town hall, armed with signs “When it’s melted, it’s screwed up”, “nature is not just a wallpaper” and “Act now or swim later” (act now or swim later, editor’s note), noted AFP.

“We are not here to skip class – by the way, we don’t have class this morning – but to revive the cause; it’s a bit dead after the Covid”, declared Lille Fannie Grandin, a student who has been involved in the movement since her college days. “We have 800 people who have reported striking on our site”, in “500” schools, said Friday morning one of the movement’s spokespersons, Pablo Flye, during a press briefing in Paris.

Shortness of breath

“In 2019, the movement in France had been overwhelmed by the wave of mobilization and we were not structured enough. After the breathlessness caused by the Covid, the catastrophic summer that we experienced remobilized us and we are ready to continue until we obtain victories for the climate, that is to say the respect of the Paris agreements”, he added.

Other marches initiated by “Fridays for future France” were planned for Friday at the end of the afternoon, in particular in Bordeaux and Toulouse. The organization does not plan to repeat these strikes every Friday, but is considering other forms of mobilization in the long term.

Changing their mode of action, activists from “Youth for Climate France” chose for their part to block the entrance to a TotalEnergies site for one hour on Friday, denouncing a mega-oil project in Uganda recently pinned down by Parliament. European.

The activists “no longer hold their signs sitting in front of the places of political power, as Greta Thunberg did, but block the places of power of capitalism: the multinationals specializing in fossil fuels”, justified in a press release the organization This year , their Sunday march in Paris chose as their slogan “the ban on advertisements in the public space in the Ile-de-France”.

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