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More than a thousand people demonstrated in Prague on Friday for climate protection. They began the protest in Malostranské Square, symbolic for a minute or twelve, shouting “Now or never”, then set out on a march through the city center. According to activists, politicians are still not doing enough to protect the climate. Representatives of the Fridays for Future movement can appeal to the government that will emerge from the October elections to make the climate a priority for it.
The protest was part of a worldwide event of the environmental movement Friday into the Future (FFF). Protesters from both students and adults carried banners with them such as “Climate Justice”, “No time to close our eyes” or “We want a healthy planet for our children.”
Representatives of environmental organizations also took part Green peace AND Rainbow, the initiative Million Moments for Democracy and to support the demonstration also came former Minister of the Environment Bedřich Moldan or former ombudsman and chartist Anna Šabatová. She emphasized that it was not enough to rely on climate-related human rights to be on paper, but that they had to be constantly and inventively fought for in order to turn things around.
“And that is why I urge you to continue your efforts. And I hope that together we will all achieve a great turnaround in society, not only in the Czech Republic, but also in the world,” said Šabatová. The activists were also supported in the letter by former Prime Minister Petr Pithart, including Linda Sokačová, director of the Czech Amnesty International. She said that the Czech Republic is one of the countries that does not take the climate crisis seriously. She emphasized that the problem of the climate crisis was linked to human rights, such as the right to food and water.
FFF spokesmen reiterated in the introduction that the future government must take concrete steps to protect the climate. They recalled that in June the movement assessed the current activities of the parliamentary parties in this area as insufficient. Activists also demand that the future government focus on the Czechia towards a more sustainable way of life, and that a post-party minister or ministry for climate will be created after the elections.
They also call for an end to coal by 2030 and emphasize the need for a fair transformation in coal regions. Speeches by other participants emphasized the need for civic engagement and provided for participation in the October elections.
The march from the square started after one o’clock in the afternoon. He walked across the Old Town Square, Na Příkopě Street and past the National Theater across Charles Bridge back to Malostranské Square. Participants chanted the slogans “Behind the climate”, “Youth to the streets so that in winter there is no hic”, “Coal, oil, gas, belongs to history” or “What school? Climate is calling for!” In the shopping cart, several activists also carried a speaker and played music.
The demonstration went without problems and clashes and after 15.00 it continued in Malá Strana with an informal program. Police spokesman Jan Daněk said that according to police estimates, 1,000 to 1,500 people eventually took part in the event. They then reached the finish line in a more intimate number.
Whether someone likes it or not, a young generation is growing up here, appealing to protecting the environment. And as a journalist reporter, I am trying to capture this very interesting movement in our country. This is an example from today’s demonstration, says Klára and Stela from a Prague grammar school. pic.twitter.com/4RcPbOFOWV
– Radek Bartonicek (@R_Bartonicek) September 24, 2021
The FFF refers to the recently published part of the sixth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change at the UN, according to which the world is said to face several turning points. However, according to activists, one of the scenarios still allows for global warming below the safe limit of 1.5 degrees Celsius compared to the time before the industrial revolution, because this requires a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the coming years.
The Czech branch of Fridays for Future has organized a number of protests in recent years. For example, in March 2019, two thousand high school students passed through Prague, demanding more consistent climate protection and emission reductions. Hundreds of young people arrived at the Prague strike in September of the same year. Last year and this year, the movement organized mostly more intimate events due to measures against the spread of covid-19 diseases. During the toughest epidemic measures, activists also protested online.
In the past, student protests took place in other cities in the Czech Republic, and demonstrations were planned for Friday in Brno or Ostrava, according to the FFF.
Two hundred students passed through the streets of Brno on Friday. Organizers and other speakers first draw attention to the effects of climate change. “These elections must result in a government that will not be indifferent to the fight for climate justice,” said Ctibor Prokop, a student at the Tisnov grammar school and spokesman for the Friday for Future movement.