German university students launch climate strike

German students kicked off a week-long campaign for further measures to protect the climate on Monday, with the events expected to disrupt normal operations at colleges and universities across the country.

The initiative is modelled on the Fridays for Future movement, which was inspired by Swedish teen Greta Thunberg and has seen schoolchildren take time off school on Fridays to protest government inaction on the climate crisis.

The issue is not as present in German universities as it should be, Students for Future spokesman Tobias Holle told dpa.

Climate issues are meant to be brought to the fore at the universities from Monday to Friday. Public street protests have not been centrally planned, according to Holle, but local groups do have the power to organize their own actions.

The students want to primarily focus on having substantial discussions around climate issues. This includes lectures on the circumstances leading to climate change and solutions, as well as workshops on what can be done locally.

“The university strike is not only effective leverage that is meant to compel politicians to act, but also a laboratory for sustainable future concepts,” the Students for Future call to mobilize says.

Actions are planned in about 40 cities and more than 50 universities and colleges, with thousands of students expected to take part, according to Holle.

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