Fridays for Future in Berlin: Angry and exuberant

Tens of thousands of people demonstrate on global climate strike day in Berlin. It's a lot more than expected.

You can see young demonstrators walking towards the camera on the street.  They hold rainbow flags.  One has a green round print that says Fridays for Future.

On the day of the climate strike, many schoolchildren demonstrate: But adults are also taking part Photo: dpa/Philipp von Ditfurth

BERLIN taz | Hundreds of people are flocking towards Invalidenpark in Mitte this Friday afternoon. They carry signs that read, "Change the world. She needs it" and "There is no Planet B". There are students, seniors, teachers, many others: They are all on their way to join the rally and the subsequent Fridays for Future (FFF) march.

Zina Novikov is one of them. "I don't want to bring my children a future in chaos," she says. Unfortunately, there are still enough people who would put their own well-being above that of their children.

8,000 people were with the police for the gathering as part of the global protest days Registered. But more are coming: soon thousands crowd in front of a built-up podium, spread out onto the adjacent streets. In the end, the police spoke of more than 20,000 people. Fridays for Future, on the other hand, gave the figure of 36,000 in the afternoon.

In the midday sun, the activists’ program begins on the square. For the next hour, speeches will mainly be held here, musicians will perform. Well-known people such as climate protection activist Luisa Neubauer and the author Marc-Uwe Kling will speak on the podium.

FFF activists have formulated clear political positions for this strike. "We are demanding a special fund of 100 billion euros from the federal government for more climate security, for example through free public transport, as well as reparation payments to those countries that are already suffering particularly from the climate crisis," says Darya Sotoodeh, spokeswoman for FFF, who is standing next to the podium . "The countries that are suffering the most from the climate crisis today must be deleveraged." Her reasoning: Many suffered from the disproportionately high emissions of the countries of the Global North and centuries of colonial exploitation.

The injustices are connected

Antonia Friedrich stays away from school that day, together with her class she came to the climate strike. It is important to her to be here today and to draw attention to the fact that all injustices are somehow connected, says the demonstrator, alluding to the global climate problem.

The crowd is also full of activists. Above all, the Berlin 2030 climate-neutral referendum had many signature collectors on site this Friday and tried to mobilize new supporters. Strike days like these would show that the climate movement in Berlin is huge and that it shouldn't really be a problem to collect enough signatures for a climate-neutral Berlin, says a speaker.

After a good hour, the activists are through with the start of the rally, and the crowd continues to warm up with the loud shouting of demo slogans. From here the demo procession will run through the government district and later return to Invalidenpark for the final rally. “Everything is going according to plan. I'm amazed how many people are here," says Sotoodeh.

The mood in the crowd of demonstrators is charged: On the one hand, many are angry at politics and the fact that circumstances are not improving, on the other hand, they are exuberant, which is reflected in loud cheers in response to speeches. "Especially now after Corona, it is so important that we all see again that we are many," says demonstrator Seyna Diene.

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