‘I will not be silenced’: Greta addresses 30,000 on College Green

Children, teenagers and adults of all ages turned out in full force to show support

Approximately 30,000 people gathered on College Green in the rain today to hear Greta Thunberg speak, and to participate in the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate march.

Within the crowd were children, teenagers and adults of all ages standing with creative banners and signs waiting in anticipation for Greta, who emerged after 45 minutes in her unmistakable yellow raincoat.

30,000 people gathered around College Green (credit: SWNS)

Greta delivered an inspiring speech: “There are people everywhere, I can’t see an end to it! Thank you to every one of you.

“We are being ignored by the politicians, the media, and those in power. Nothing is being done towards this crisis, despite all the beautiful words and promises from these officials.

“I will not stand aside and watch, I will not be silenced while the world is on fire. Will you?”

Greta Thunberg spoke at the rally (credit: SWNS)

She continued: “Leaders are behaving like children, so it falls on us to be the adults in the room. It should not be this way, we should not have to be the ones to lead this and tell the uncomfortable truth.

“Once again, they sweep their mess under the rug for us younger people, their children, to clean up for them. If enough people are pushing for change, then change will come, and we are those people.

“Just look at Bristol as an example. The other week, plans to expand Bristol airport were cancelled and a lot is thanks to climate activists!

“Activism works, so I’m telling you to act. If you look throughout history, all the great changes have come from the people. We are being betrayed by those in power, and they are failing us, but we will not back down.

“If you feel threatened by that, then I have some very bad news for you. We will not be silenced.”

The crowd also heard from Mya-Rose Craig, known as BirdgirlUK, as well as various organisers from BristolYS4C. They emphasised the progress of the movement: “They said we would get bored and this would be a phase. Look around you, we are evidence that we are winning. The Bristol airport expansion was denied, the Heathrow expansion is now dead in the water and fracking has been banned in the UK.”

BirdgirlUK also spoke at the protest (credit: SWNS)

The Bristol Tab spoke to Emily and Evie, two 14-year-old climate activists, who said: “Our teachers encouraged us to be here today!”

Their top environmental tip? “We definitely need to reduce the amount of refuse products, and use sustainable fashion to stay away from fast fashion”.

Olivia, age 19, said: “Little kids shouldn’t have to be doing this. It’s very emotional.”

Greta and the BristolYS4C team headed the march (credit: SWNS)

The rally promptly took to the streets after Greta’s speech, and marched through the city centre shouting: “What do we want? Climate Justice. When do we want it? Now!”.

Featured image: SWNS