Several Swiss cities on Friday played host to a coordinated climate strike by students, who were demonstrating against perceived inaction on global warming. Millions of young people will take part in similar strikes in an array of countries around the world this weekend.
At least 30 towns and citiesexternal link across Switzerland saw young people empty out of schools to send their message to politicians and business leaders.
Police estimated around 10,000 people were taking part in Lausanne, in the French-speaking part of the country, with almost 2,000 in Neuchâtel and 5,000 in Geneva. The demonstrators included many adults accompanying children. In Lucerne, central Switzerland, some 1,500 people attended the rally, while organisers estimated 12,000 took part in Zurich, with several thousands turning out in the capital, Bern and in Basel.
swissinfo.ch followed a part of the demonstration in Bern.
video of climate strikers in Bern
Climate strikers in Bern
Well over 1,000 school pupils took part in a climate strike in various Swiss regions in December. In February the numbers swelled to tens of thousands as people of all ages joined students in 13 towns and cities. This was followed by more protests earlier this month.
At the United Nations climate change conference in Paris four years ago countries pledged to work to limit the rise in global temperature to two degrees Celsius. But Swiss legislators are divided on what measures should be adopted to meet Switzerland’s pledge.
Speaking to reporters on Thursday at a meeting of the United Nations Environment Programme in Nairobi, Swiss Environment Minister Simonetta Sommaruga said she is listening to the voices of protesters. "We must give answers now, because climate change has also arrived in Switzerland," she said.
A survey of 2,000 young people by the Blick newspaper, published on Monday, found that two thirds of respondents wanted the government to take urgent radical action to combat global warming. But the survey found differing opinions on how this should be done.