THE HAGUE: Thousands of students skipped classes on Thursday and marched past the Dutch parliament, calling for more ambitious climate policies in the Netherlands.
The noisy but peaceful demonstration by Dutch students follows similar marches in recent weeks in neighbouring Belgium that also have drawn thousands of protesters.
The protests there continued, too, with thousands more teenagers demonstrating in several cities for the fifth week in a row.
Belgian police said that in central Leuven alone more than 10,000 students gathered and authorities had to change the planned route to accommodate the marchers. Many thousands more protested in the capital Brussels and other provincial towns throughout Belgium as the youth movement spread further across the country.
Organisers of the Dutch march in The Hague said they want to send a wake-up call to politicians who are wrestling with how best to rein in greenhouse gas emissions.
They had hoped for some 3,000 marchers but got far more, although police did not give an official estimate of the crowd’s size.
Students from across the Netherlands crammed into trains and buses, those from The Hague walked or rode their bicycles to gather in a park before setting off on a walk through the city.
“We’re here because we want the government to take quicker and better steps to improve the climate,” said 16-year-old Maartje Bood, who had travelled 200 kilometres from the northern city of Leeuwarden to take part in the march.
She and her friends were holding up a banner that said in Dutch, “We want the 11 cities race back,” a reference to a marathon speedskating race over frozen canals in the northern Netherlands that is only staged in very cold winters when the ice is thick enough. The last race was held in 1997.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019