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You are here: Home / 2019 / Millions take to the streets worldwide against a threatening climate catastrophe – on 20 September and in the following action week

Millions take to the streets worldwide against a threatening climate catastrophe – on 20 September and in the following action week

ICOR, European Coordinator Joachim Griesbaum, 5 October 2019


The worldwide participation in the climate strike day on 20 and/or 27/28 September 2019 was impressive and is of strategic importance. Millions of people worldwide took to the streets in 170 countries against the climate catastrophe. There were a total of 6383 actions. Gabi Fechtner, party chairwoman of the MLPD, emphasized, “That made it to one of the largest international action days ever. And that during working and school hours“.

This included a clear criticism of capitalism, protests against the inhumane and life-threatening policies of the ruling powers. A new alliance of the environmental youth movement Fridays for Future, the environmental, working-class and trade union movement was formed. Further strata, such as indigenous people, also took part. This documents the increased consciousness that the struggle against the destruction of the foundations of human life must be coordinated and organized internationally and across borders. Women's organizations and trade unions also called up to the protests and organized them.

A few highlights worldwide


In Europe more than one million demonstrated in Italy; in Spain hundreds of thousands, alone in Madrid 150,000 and more than 150,000 in France. In Switzerland 100,000 took part in the nationwide demonstration in Bern. In The Hague, Netherlands 35,000 people demonstrated. In Austria 150,000 people took part in the climate protests. In Luxembourg they numbered between 5000 and 8000; many trade-unionists demonstrated as well. In Great Britain 300,000. In Sweden protests took place on 27 September in at least 100 cities and towns, 60,000 alone in Stockholm. In Finland there were actions in at least 20 places with a total of 20,000 participants, in Helsinki 5000. In the entire week, the „Week of future“ there were 13 actions in Finland, 5 in Island, 15 in Norway and 170 in Sweden.

Protests developed in various countries of Eastern Europe: in Serbia and Croatia, but also in Slovakia (Bratislava 5000) and the Czech Republic (Prague 2000). In Hungary nationwide protests took place in 15 cities on 27 September; in Budapest several thousand demonstrated. In Ukraine 1000 demonstrated in Kiev. Protests also took place in a number of cities in Russia.


In Australia rallies were conducted in 115 cities and towns in the entire country. There were about 350,000 demonstrators nationwide, almost twice as many as on 15 March of this year. Central demands of the movement are the ban of new coal, oil and gas projects, transition to 100% renewable energy by 2030. In New Zealand 40,000 demonstrated in the capital city of Wellington.


Africa: From Cape Town to Abuja, from Windhoek to Kampala - in all of Africa hundreds of thousands of young people went into the streets. In Johannesburg, South Africa, a demonstration was organized by local groups, (mass) organizations („civil society“) and trade unions. In Kenya demonstrators demanded the construction stop of a coal-fired power plant on the island Lamu, which belongs to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage.


Latin America: In Chile about 10,000 people went into the streets in numerous cities. Among their demands were the protection of forests, the shutdown of coal-fired power plants and there were protests against water emergency. In Brazil there were calls on 20 September in 38 cities to participate in demonstrations and protests. In Brazil at least 60,000 demonstrated in 80 protest activities in 70 cities in 20 states. Further protests also took place in Peru, Colombia, Mexico.


In the USA 250,000 demonstrated alone in New York and a total of 1000 protest actions took place in the entire country.


In Asia there were protests in Bangladesh, India, the Philippines, South Korea, Japan and Malaysia.


In Germany up to 1.5 million people took part in the joint protest and strike day of the working-class, youth and environmental movement on 20 September. On 27 September further tens of thousands demonstrated in 65 cities. This total participation surpassed the numbers on day X against the Iraq war 2003 in Germany, when one million people were on the streets. And these were five times the number of the last action day of Fridays for Future. “The majority of participants were young students. Broad participation came from several DGB trade unions, environmental organizations, churches, entire schools and school classes, as well as many others who had joined in the call of the Fridays for Future movement. Everywhere flags of the IG Metall, the GEW, EVG and other unions could be seen. The MLPD actively participated in hundreds of cities. It stood prominently for the unity of working-class movement and environmental movement, cooperation above party lines, the revolutionary alternative and a democratic culture of debate. For a long time MLPD and Rebell have been upholding the joint struggle of the working-class and environmental movement. The factory groups of the MLPD made a decisive contribution to actively preparing the action day in factories and unions, so that in many places delegations of workers from large factories could also be seen. (…) There were liquidationist attacks in the run-up, often identical and coordinated against the MLPD. But the non-party affiliation prevailed! That signifies a great success of this day and must become a school in all movements. That includes the protection of democratic rights and freedoms at demonstrations. (Rote Fahne magazine 20/2019).


The worldwide protests underscore the tasks of the revolutionaries. The ICOR resolution states:

However, it is important for the ICOR to go into action internationally already in September and to unfold a debate on the strategic solution of the environmental question, to give the rebellious youth movement clarity, backbone and perspective with the aim of restoring the unity of humanity and nature through a general societal paradigm change. That, however, requires the successful struggle for democracy and freedom and the international socialist revolution.“


This year the UN Climate Conference will be taking place in Chile from 2-13 December. The ICOR will be participating in an “alternative summit meeting“ and proposes taking 29 November, suggested by the environmental movement, as the ICOR worldwide day of environmental struggle 2019. In Germany numerous protests will be prepared and initiated by MLPD and its youth league.

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