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Global climate strike returns to Dublin

Youth activists took to the streets of Dublin demanding immediate climate action

Hundreds of people gathered for climate protests across the country in late March as part of a global ‘climate strike’.  

Protestors demanded more action from world leaders in tackling the climate crisis. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

The Dublin protest was held at a closed-off side of Merrion Square, with activists crowding around a truck adorned with protest banners and Ukrainian flags. 

Throughout the hour-long demonstration, multiple speakers gave powerful orations discussing climate change, direct provision, and the war in Ukraine.  

A responsive crowd answered with cheers and applause as each speaker urged world leaders to act immediately in the face of climate catastrophe.

The event featured a mix of music and chants to energise the protesters, with activists of all ages taking part.  

The strike was organised by Fridays for Future, the youth-led climate activist movement originally started by Greta Thunberg in 2018.  

Anjelica Foley, a member of Fridays for Future Ireland emceed the demonstration and said a main focus of the protest was to bring a physical presence back to the streets after the limits the pandemic had placed on climate protest.  

“We were very loud, people heard us, and it was very hard to avoid,” she said.  

“It’s about people coming out and talking about the climate, it’s about people realizing we’re still here,” she added.  

Foley said she was happy with the overall turnout, seeing it as a way to build momentum for a new wave of climate activism in Ireland.  

“It’s all about building, because climate, whether we like it or not, is always on the agenda and it will always be in the news because the climate crisis has not gone away,” she said.  

“For us it’s not necessarily about the numbers, but it’s about the people.”    

“For us it’s not necessarily about the numbers, but it’s about the people”   

Anjelica Foley, Climate Activist 

Foley said that weeks of preparation had been put into the strike, including emailing all 191 secondary schools in Dublin for support. 

According to Foley, not a single school replied.  

Climate activists Iona Logan and Róisín Solley Ambrose both attended the strike and called for urgent action.  

“In reality, the government realizes that we’re still here, and that we do expect more,” said Logan 

“I know that they’re doing something, but it’s not to the extent that we need,” she added.  

Róisín Solley Ambrose (left) and Iona Logan (right) hold signs in protest. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

The activists said that although not physically affected by climate change, they feel an emotional impact. 

“I don’t know how someone would be able to ignore it, you know it’s in the media all the time,” said Solley Ambrose.  

“I think the emotional impact of knowing that it’s there and knowing that other people are impacted by that and have to leave their homes and are being killed by this crisis, it’s just a huge problem for us to face,” said Logan.  

Throughout the strike, Foley introduced many of the guest speakers, including Ukrainian Anya Bazilo who had recently arrived in Ireland from Kyiv.  

Bazilo, who fled Ukraine to join her family in Ireland, made a speech thanking protesters for their climate action and support of Ukraine.  

The conflict in Ukraine was a major focus of the demo, with some protesters wearing Ukrainian flag ribbons and the event holding a minute of silence for the people of Ukraine. 

A number of guest speakers took to the stage during the minute of silence. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

“I think it was really powerful, because typically when you go to a protest you expect shouting and chanting, and that was really powerful for me personally, because I didn’t hear anything, like it was genuinely a minute of silence,” said Foley.  

“We thought it’s so important because the thing with the war in Ukraine is a lot of it is financed by fossil fuels,” Foley added.  

“There are other crises happening as well as highlighted at the strike, but it’s so important to not forget about the climate, because it’s always going to be there.”

A number of Ukrainian flags could be spotted at the strike. Image: Jake Mc Laughlin

A large focus of Fridays for Future is to focus on intersectionality and Most Affected People and Areas (MAPA), which aims to highlight the communities that suffer the most from the effects of climate change. 

Climate activist Salim Kajani took to the stage to discuss MAPA experiences in his poem1 billion climate refugees’, in which he talked about his grandfather’s village and the devastating affect climate change is having on it, and other areas in South Asia.  

Intersectionality was at the forefront of a speech given by Oluwaseun Ola Sabigurl, who talked about the experience of living in direct provision and the importance of acknowledging all voices in climate activism.  

“Just because we’re having a strike doesn’t mean we can’t highlight other issues, because intersectionality is so important,” said Foley.

With Cop27 to take place this November, further climate mobilizations are to be expected, with Foley expecting large turnouts without the limits of Covid restrictions.  

“We don’t have the time to be debating over climate change, we have time to act, but that window is shrinking.” 

“That’s why it’s so important that young people come out to the streets, because if we don’t, how else do we get our voice about? It’s not like we can just vote.”  

Prior to the strike, former Irish president Mary Robinson released a video in support of the protestors.
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