Thousands of young Danes take part in climate strike at parliament

School children and students from across Denmark took part in global protests over climate change on Friday.

Thousands of young Danes take part in climate strike at parliament
Photo: Tariq Mikkel Khan/Ritzau Scanpix

Young people went on strike from lessons to gather in 32 towns and cities across the country, including in front of the national parliament at Christiansborg Palace in Copenhagen.

Over 10 times more people attended Friday’s demonstration than recent climate protests on February 1st, newspaper Politiken reports.

Several thousand school children and students stayed away from classes in order to make clear to politicians how highly they prioritise the issue of climate change.

The Danish demonstration is part of the global school strike movement for climate dubbed Fridays for Future. The movement was started by Swedish teenager Greta Thunberg, who this week received a Nobel Peace Prize nomination.

Upper secondary school student Adrian Preisler, who is 18, was one of the organisers of the Christiansborg demonstration. Preisler told Politiken he was taking part because “this is my my future and everyone else’s future, and not something we can just play around with.”.

“And I think that there are some politicians here at Christiansborg just in front of us who simply don’t do enough on climate,” he added.

Politicians from the environmentalist Alternative party tweeted about the demonstration, including leader Uffe Elbæk, who wrote that he was present with “three generations”.

Sofie Carsten Nielsen, acting political leader of the Social Liberal (Radikale Venstre), accompanied her son to the event.

“I am so proud of him. They have prepared. They are sticking together. He is 12 years old and means this seriously,” Carsten Nielsen tweeted.

Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen also made an appearance at the demonstration and spoke to some of the striking school students.

“It is incredibly good to see our young people getting involved,” the PM said in an interview with TV2 News.

Rasmussen denied his government was failing to do enough on climate change.

“I think we are (acting). We are well on the way. We are on the way to being involved, but the international climate battle cannot be won in Denmark,” he said.

READ ALSO: Danish government asked us not to criticise: former climate council leader

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Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen

Denmark's parliament has given the go-ahead to build Lynetteholm, a giant artificial island that will protect Copenhagen's harbour waters from rising sea levels at the same times as providing homes for 35,000 people.

Danish parliament gives go ahead to giant artificial island off Copenhagen
How the island will look while udner construction. Photo: By og Havn

The bill empowering the government to push ahead with the project passed with a massive majority of 85 in favour and 12 against, opening the way for work to push ahead on the 2.8 square kilometer island early as this autumn.

In a short debate on Friday morning, Thomas Jensen, the Social Democrat MP coordinating the bill, dismissed claims that not enough had been done to assess the environmental consequences of what has been described as the largest construction project in Danish history.

“Of the bills I have helped to implement here in the parliament, this is the one which has been most thoroughly discussed, with expert consultations, technical reviews, and almost 200 questions to the Ministry of Transport, which have been answered by the rapporteurs,” he said. “So in terms of process, it is completely worked out.”


Ahead of the vote protesters from the Stop Lynetteholm Facebook group staged a protest outside the parliament, with many dressed in Sean the Sheep costumes. 

Protesters dressed as sheep staged a demonstration against the Lynetteholm project outside the parliament. Photo: Emil Helms/Ritzau Scanpix

The parliamentary vote is not the last hurdle.

The project is also being challenged in the European Court of Justice, on the grounds that the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA)  have looked at the impact of constructing the island itself, but not of the roads, metro lines, housing and other developments which will go on it.

Lynetteholm is being built partly as a coastal protection project, with a dam that will protect Copenhagen from future storm surges.

The plan was first announced in 2018 by the then Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, and the then Lord Mayor of Copenhagen, Frank Jensen.