Thousands of students made their voices heard today as they skipped school and took to the streets for a demonstration on climate change .
The eco-conscious youngsters chanted, marched and waved placards with mounted police in London being forced to move them off the roads as they blocked traffic.
More than 50 protests had been planned for around the UK, including Brighton, Newbury in Berkshire, and Huddersfield, calling for urgent action.
Author Julie Hamill tweeted: "My daughter is 14. Today she strikes from school for climate change.
"When I was 14 I was playing tapes in my room. As much as I am proud of her she shouldn’t have to be doing this. Shame on you, Westminster, you FAIL young people."
Labour Leader Jeremy Corbyn added: "Climate change is the greatest threat that we all face but it is the school kids of today whose futures are most on the line.
"They are right to feel let down by the generation before them and it’s inspiring to see them making their voice heard today."
Protesters in London at the UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate action event were seen scaling traffic lights or statues in Parliament Square, while others sat down in front of double-deckers, prompting the Metropolitan Police to intervene.
Some of the placards read ‘this is environ mental’ and ‘system change not climate change’.
A number of protesters were led off in handcuffs after being removed from the road by police.
One group, who looked to be in their late teens, took over an open-top tourist bus, climbing to the top deck and conducting their protest from there.
The students took their protest to Downing Street, stopping in front of the gates to chant "save our planet".
The action has been taking place across the country with youngsters – some wearing their school uniform – carrying banners bearing slogans such as "There is no plan(et) 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".
In Belfast, a small but passionate crowd of young people gathered outside City Hall.
Maia Willis Reddick, a 17-year-old student at Belfast’s Methodist College, said her school had been supportive of her joining the action.
She said: "Us leaving school means we show we value the climate the same as we value our education.
"We are still very conscious about school. I have A-levels, I have stuff to do, we just want to make the point that we are willing to take drastic action in order to highlight the problems of climate change."
Rosamund Kissi-Debrah’s nine-year-old daughter Ella’s death in February 2013 has been linked to unlawful air pollution.
After addressing the demonstrators, she said she felt very emotional speaking on the sixth anniversary of her daughter’s death.
She added: "It has been a very hard day but I had to talk to them so they got what today was all about. It’s not about skipping school.
"Climate change needs to be part of the national curriculum."
Nico, 13, was protesting at Parliament Square in Westminster.
She said protesting about climate change was not a "chance to bunk off school", but "a push for a better future".
Ten-year-old Zachary Hird, a pupil at Cambridge’s Newnham Croft Primary School, was at the protest in Cambridge with his mother 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."
Children also gathered in Brighton, with some waving banners refusing to take exams and calling for immediate action on climate change.
They cheered as they were joined by Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas.
She told them they should only miss school in exceptional circumstances, adding: "The evidence is really shocking, we have less than 12 years to get off the collision course that we’re on, my generation has let you down.
"In the last 12 months there’s only been one debate on climate change in Parliament.
"There is a better way forward."
However, the strikes were not welcomed by school leaders and Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who said missing class was not the answer.
Meanwhile, a bizarre outburst was filmed during the protest by a man blaming the students’ parents.
He is heard saying: "I’ve got some bad news for you, you’re not going to like this.
"The reason why you’re here is because of your parents. It’s your parents that put you here.
"You’re getting angry at the wrong people. I’m not saying you should be angry with your parents, but you need to speak to your parents and ask them why they brought you here to this crazy world and why they did all this damage to the environment by bringing you here."
Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: "While we admire the determination of these young people to make their voices heard over climate change, missing school is not the right approach.
"The problem is not only the disruption and loss of learning time but the fact that schools have responsibility for the safety and wellbeing of pupils, and it is a serious concern if pupils are off site and unsupervised.
"We appeal to all involved in the protests not to repeat the exercise, particularly as many students will soon be taking exams which are crucial to their life chances."
Downing Street said that while it was important for young people to engage with issues such as climate change, the disruption to planned lesson time was damaging for pupils.
"Everybody wants young people to be engaged in the issues that affect them most so that we can build a brighter future for all of us," a No 10 spokeswoman said.
"But it is important to emphasise that disruption increases teachers’ workloads and wastes lesson time that teachers have carefully prepared for.
"That time is crucial for young people, precisely so that they can develop into the top scientists, engineers and advocates we need to help tackle this problem."
But the demonstrators gained the support of Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, who described their actions as a "cause for optimism in an often dark world".
The movement has already seen school strikes in Australia and European countries including Belgium, and was inspired by teenager Greta Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden’s parliament to urge leaders to tackle climate change.
It comes in the wake of a UN report which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.
That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years.
Students in the UK are demanding the Government declare a climate emergency and take active steps to tackle the problem, communicate the severity of the ecological crisis to the public and reform the curriculum to make it an educational priority.
Anna Taylor, of UK Student Climate Network, said: "We’re running out of time for meaningful change, and that’s why we’re seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.
"Unless we take positive action, the future’s looking bleak for those of us that have grown up in an era defined by climate change."
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