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Thousands of young people protest for climate action in Belgium

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Brussels (AFP)

Thousands of young people rallied in Belgium to demand action on climate change Thursday part of a wave of demonstrations led by high school students and aimed at intensifying pressure on governments.

Carrying banners with slogans like "No world, no future" and "Make our planet great again", some 30,000 people took to the streets across the country, with some 12,500 in Brussels.

They are part of a network of student-led protest groups that have seen tens of thousands of young people around the world ditch school to demand serious action against climate change in recent months.

In Belgium the "Youth for Climate" movement has seen schoolchildren and students shun classes every Thursday for the past four weeks.

"Many say we do this to skip school, but we didn't even have class today, our teachers were away," said one student, Elias.

"So we just come because it's important. I don't want to find myself in 20 years with a destroyed climate and tell myself that I didn't do anything."

Brandishing a megaphone, 17-year-old Anuna De Wever told the crowd: "We need change! Now!"

The Flemish high school student has become the high-profile face of the marches, facing death threats for her activism.

"We must all ask the leaders of our planet to solve this problem right now, to listen to the experts and to swear that the climate will be a priority until we are protected," she said.

Then added in English: "What do we want? Climate Justice! When do we want it? Now!"

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