26 September 2019 across New Zealand. An estimated 80,000 people turned up in Auckland today to participate in the climate change protests held across the country in what is believed to be one of the biggest protests yet.
Pacific Island students dressed in traditional costumes joined the protests across New Zealand, posting social media footage of their dancing and singing in unison as they marched to demand climate action.
Today’s protests are the first time adults have been invited to march alongside school and university students. It became an inter-generational protest with parents and grandparents encouraging the youth.
“I would be ashamed if I wasn’t here to support them,” says a 72 year old grandfather cheering on from his wheelchair.
In Auckland, youth organisation 4TK – 4 Tha Culture partnered up with School Strike 4 Climate – the original group behind the March protests – to bring Pacific voices to the discussion on climate change.
Protestors gathered at the Auckland CBD’s Aotea Square, where they chanted, “Sea levels are rising and so are we”.
In Auckland Samoan climate change warrior Brianna Fruean was able to address the crowd.
“No more corporate bullying, no more silencing our voices. No more putting profits before our future.”
“I stand here as a warrior. My voice loud and strong, because it is anchored by the voices of my young brothers and sisters in the Pacific,” said Ms Fruean.
Ms Fruean says their message is for world leaders, and that they are not protesting against their Pacific leaders.
“We are striking for our Pacific leaders who have shown climate leadership.”
Meanwhile, climate change protestors in Wellington marched to Parliament grounds from Wellington’s Civic Square.
Samoan University students in Wellington also participated, many of them posting messages and images on social media.
Thousands of students poured onto Parliament lawn, calling for immediate action to tackle climate change and demanding the declaration of a Climate Crisis.
Organisers estimated over 30,000 attended the protest, with Parliament lawn having never had such a number of protesters outside it’s lawns before.
Protestors held signs saying, ” We demand action” “Denial is Not a Policy” and “Make the Earth Great Again”.
Students lined the footpath outside parliament, with the size of the protest one of the biggest the New Zealand Parliament has ever seen.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is attending the UN General Assembly in New York. New Zealand MPs from Labour, National and the Green Party were present.