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Hundreds of climate change protestors young and old turn out in Shrewsbury - in pictures and video

By Keri Trigg | Shrewsbury | News | Published:

Chants of 'whose future? Our future' rang out as hundreds of environmental campaigners gathered to support the global climate strike.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Organised by Extinction Rebellion Shrewsbury Youth, the demonstration saw protestors fill the Square waving placards and calling on the government to act on the climate emergency.

WATCH: Hundreds turn out in Shrewsbury for Extinction Rebellion protest

Hundreds turn out for Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury

The strike was called by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg and saw people across the world join more than 5,000 protests in 156 countries.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

In Shrewsbury, the demonstration drew students, parents and workers who came together for an hour of speeches and music before a picnic on Pride Hill and a march through the town to both college campuses

Shrewsbury climate change protest

There were cardboard cutouts of Greta Thunburg and David Attenborough and children chalked messages on the pavement including 'climate change is not a lie, do not let our planet die'.

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Organiser Callum Fone, 17, addressed the crowds, saying: "I am scared for the future.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

"I am scared for the future of my friends and peers, both here in Shrewsbury and around the world.

"I am scared because our governments and those chosen to represent us are not doing enough to combat this crisis.

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"We are all united in fighting for the same cause and together we can save the planet.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

"I’m 17 years old. What does this mean? It means I feel powerless.

"Because of my age I cannot vote and I cannot join trade unions. So for me the only way to get my voice heard is to be a part of events like this.

"To be a part of the Extinction Rebellion movement has given me hope and a chance to fight for the life ahead of me.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

"It is now time for civil disobedience and time to rebel."

Speaking after his speech, Callum said: "It is down to the youth of the world to act because it is our future that is in jeopardy.

“People tell us that we should be in school or that we should wait until we are old enough to vote or become politicians before we try and change things.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

"But the fact is, there isn’t enough time. The decisions being made today will decide what kind of world we’re going to live in when we’re older."

Co-organiser Belle Lewis, also 17, said: "It has been amazing to see so many people here.

"It was a youth strike but we have been joined by parents and grandparents which is so nice as often this is seen as fight between the old and young."

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

The international protest, organised by a coalition of environmental groups, is the first ever global general strike.

Among the protesters were Jamie Russell from Shrewsbury and his children aged 12 and 8.

“I think these kids understand the simplicity of the climate crisis in a way adults don’t – or won’t,” he said.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

“The basic science tells us that the more fossil fuels we burn, the hotter the planet becomes.

"My daughters ask me ‘why aren’t we switching to renewable energy? Why aren’t we making buses electric? Why aren’t we doing anything to stop this?'"

Chris and Jodie Thompson from Bitterley, near Ludlow, joined the demonstration with their children Lola, nine, and Joe, seven.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

Jodie said: "The government's deadlines for carbon reduction need to be brought forward.

"Children need to be educated about this more. People need to be encouraged to fly less and public transport needs to be invested in."

Chris said: "We are just hoping the government is going to do something. We have been aware of this for years but progress has been very minimal over that time.

Extinction Rebellion protest in Shrewsbury's Market Square

"If we don't change things, what are our kids going to inherit?"

While many children had the day off school to join the protest, some schools decided to stage their own day of action.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Pupils at Coleham Primary School in Shrewsbury held a 'Coleham Cares' climate march around the school grounds as part of an 'eco day'.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Each of the 420 children wrote their own letter to Shrewsbury and Atcham MP Daniel Kawczynski with their ideas for change, and Mr Kawczynski attended the school personally to collect the letters and speak to the children.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Throughout the day, children explored what climate change is and what they could do as individuals and a school to help.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Donations were collected in the morning for the charity Climate Coalition and the children were invited to wear something green or an old T-shirt they could write their own slogans on.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Mr Kawczynski said: "I am pleased to see that our younger generation are taking an interest in these important matters. I wanted to come to Coleham Primary School today to personally accept their letters to me and to show that I share their concerns on climate change."

Mrs Howson, Eco Council leader and a teacher at the school, said: “They have loved writing letters to the MP and learned a great deal about expressing their views and local democracy."

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

“Parents were asked not to buy anything new, to highlight the message that the day was about reducing waste, reusing products, and helping our planet.

“We have also held a ‘big switch off’ and turned off electricity within the school. Teachers were not allowed to use their computers and the kitchen provided a cold sandwich option for lunchtime.”

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

In preparation for the eco day the school re-launched its Eco Council, which will be continuing to explore what the children and school can do to help climate change.

Little climate change protestors at Coleham Primary School

Representatives from Surfers Against Sewage and storyteller Jake Evans were invited to provide an assembly on Monday ahead of the eco day.

Mrs Howson added: “We are hugely heartened by the passion already shown from many of our pupils on this important subject. It was the pupils who have driven the project and requested action."

Keri Trigg

By Keri Trigg
Reporter - @KeriTrigg_Star

Reporter for the Shropshire Star and Shrewsbury Chronicle based in Shrewsbury.

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