Thousands of schoolchildren abandoned their lessons for a day to descend on 60 towns and cities in a mass climate change protest.
Youth Strike 4 Climate movement organisers said walkouts were taking place across the country on Friday, with youngsters carrying banners bearing the slogan: “There is no planet B”.
Other signs read: “When did the children become the adults?” and “Why should I clean my room when the world is in such a mess”.
At one protest outside Cambridgeshire County Council’s offices, a demonstrator led chants of “Whose future? Our future” and “Hey, ho, fossil fuels have got to go.”
The students are demanding the government declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem, as well as communicating the serious dangers of the ecological crisis to the public.
They are also calling for reform to the curriculum to make it an educational priority.
They join students in the US, Australia, The Netherlands and Uganda to call for greater action on global warming, in actions inspired by 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg.
Jasper Giles, a six-year-old pupil at University of Cambridge Primary School, attended with his mother Alissia Roberts.
She said: “I think it’s worth taking a day off school to show support for this movement, I think it’s really important and it will gather momentum.”
Ten-year-old Zachary Hird, a pupil at Cambridge’s Newnham Croft Primary School, was at the protest with his mum Diane Hird.
He said: “We don’t want climate change and people just have to change their ways as we don’t want the world as it is right now.
“We just want to make people aware of it.
“We were talking about it in our class so we just came along.”
Very proud of my 10 year-old daughter today, and the many thousands of school students worldwide who are showing us all what leadership means. I look forward to joining them on the march in London tomorrow. #YouthStrike4Climate#SchoolStrike4Climate@GretaThunbergpic.twitter.com/J57V6lnFL2
— Kate Raworth (@KateRaworth) February 14, 2019
Children also gathered in Brighton, with some waving banners refusing to take exams and calling for immediate action on climate change, while protesters also took the cause to Westminster, descending on Parliament Square to demand change.
Dressed in their school uniforms, some broke into chants of “Save our planet” and “Now, climate justice”.
Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres voiced her support for the cause, saying the action was “moving”.
She said: “It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth and schoolchildren, who are so worried about their future that they need to strike to make us pay attention.
“It is a sign that we are failing in our responsibility to protect them from the worsening impacts of climate change.”
It’s time to heed the deeply moving voice of youth and schoolchildrenChristiana Figueres
John Sauven, executive director of Greenpeace UK, said: “Young people know that their lives are going to be changed dramatically by the impacts of climate change.
“The risks that older people hope they might dodge are the problems the young will inherit.
However, the strikes were not welcomed by school leaders and education secretary Damian Hinds, who said missing class was not the answer.
“I want young people to be engaged in key issues affecting them and involving themselves in causes they care about,” the cabinet minister said.
“But let me be clear, missing class won’t do a thing to help the environment; all they will do is create extra work for teachers.”