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Students, lecturers and schoolchildren unite in climate strike

‘What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!’

Around 350 students, lecturers, schoolchildren and others gathered this morning to strike against the climate emergency.

Members of the university community gathered outside Senate House where speakers related the climate protest to this week’s ongoing lecturer strike.

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David Ion addressing the crowd.

One of the speakers, a third year History student named David Ion, said: “We’re all here today to stand up to organisations like the USS and the fossil fuel companies which they fund, and basically, scare the living daylights out of them.”

“They will not be able to hide from us any longer. We know who they are, we know what they’re doing, and this time we will not be silenced.”

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Students then marched down Park Street where they met the School’s Strike for Climate.

They chanted, "What do we want? Climate justice! When do we want it? Now!"

Police estimated that there were around 350 people were in attendance at College Green.

In a "climate hustings," three local politicians took the opportunity to discuss the climate emergency and the upcoming election.

Carla Denyer, The Green Party candidate for Bristol West, said: “Unlike the other parties who jump on the bandwagon when they see there are some votes in it, we’ve always stood up for climate change.”

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Carla Denyer (right), Mhairi Threfall (2nd from right), James Cox (3rd from right)

James Cox, the Lib Dem who stood down as a candidate in Bristol West, said: “I stood aside as part of the Unite to Remain Deal, because this election more than anything else is about your future.

“It’s about Brexit, it’s about the climate emergency, it’s about making sure we have MPs in The House of Commons who are standing up for you on the most issues facing us today.”

Mhairi Threlfall, Labour candidate for Filton and Bradley Stoke, said: “This election is a climate election and I am proud to stand as a Labour party candidate under the Green New Deal for social and ecological change.

Addressing the schoolchildren, she said: “Many of you may not have a vote, but I pledge to be your voice.”

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James Cox addressing the crowd at College Green

The Bristol Tab spoke to a number of uni students and lecturers standing in solidarity on College Green.

Dan, a third year Economics and Politics student, said: “We’re showing solidarity with all the school students who are striking, and with our lecturers because they’ve been on strike all week.”

On students crossing the picket line, Dan said: “There are independent study areas that aren’t affiliated with the uni like the Students’ Union. I would encourage them to use those.

"But, I am aware that some people have crucial deadlines … I wouldn’t want to shame them, but it would maybe be good if they were slightly more aware or informed about the consequences of crossing a picket line.”

Josie McLellan, Professor of History at Bristol uni, said: “I’m here because we’ve had brilliant student support for our strike and it’s really nice to have the opportunity to support the students with their climate action.

"Also, it’s something I feel really strongly about as well. I think it’s really nice to be part of this social movement.”