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15.28 7 Feb 2019


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At least 10,000 students have skipped class in the Netherlands to join a major protest demanding greater action on climate change.

It comes as thousands of teenagers in Belgium skipped school for the fourth Thursday in a row to join the protests.

Similar marches have been held in Sweden, Germany and Switzerland.

It comes as scientists yesterday confirmed that the last five years have been the warmest on record.

Organisers of this afternoon's protest in The Hague in the Netherlands said they were aiming to send a wake-up call to politicians.

It comes after the Dutch Environmental Assessment Agency said the national target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 25% by next year - when compared to 1990 levels - was out of reach.

A view of a banner as thousands of students gather to join a march in support of more ambitious climate policies in The Hague, Netherlands, 07-02-2019. Image: AP Photo/Michael Corder

Meanwhile, some 350 scientists have signed an open letter supporting the demonstration.

The letter, published by Trouw.nl, notes that "on the basis of the facts supplied by climate science" the students are right to protest.

"It is high time for political leadership," it reads.

"We cannot permit ourselves any longer to wait before taking the necessary measures.

"If political leadership goes hand in hand with effective measures and a change in behaviour we can solve this problem in time.

"Otherwise the children who are protesting in support of their own future will be the victims."

Thousands gather for a climate change protest in Leuven, Belgium, 07-02-2019. Image: AP Photo/Geert Vanden Wijngaert

Marches were also held in towns and cities across Belgium this afternoon as the movement continues to spread across the country.

The movement - which saw 70,000 people marching in Brussels last month - has already led to the resignation of the Flemish Climate Minister.

Joke Schauvliege resigned her position after she falsely claimed the country's state security had told her the protests were a "set-up" and the children were being directed by unnamed powers.

After security services denied the claim she admitted she had never been contacted by them. She claimed she didn't lie but admitted that she went "a bit too far."

The various walk-out movements have been coordinating their efforts in recent weeks and a day of global school strikes is scheduled for March 15th.


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