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Fridays for Future: Climate demonstration in Bonn attracts thousands of participants

Fridays for Future : Climate demonstration in Bonn attracts thousands of participants

Bonn has not seen a demonstration of this dimension for some time. According to the organizers, 10,000 people were marching through Bonn’s city center on Friday. The climate protection movement "Fridays for Future" spoke of its second largest event in Bonn.

Only on September 20, 2019, when 15,000 demonstrators took to the streets were there more people participating. The park area at the Hofgarten was so full that almost nothing could be seen of the green lawn. Loud and emotionally charged, the speakers' chants resounded across the square in front of the main university building. Many people were waving their climate signs on Friday and it wasn’t only students - many of them seemingly swapping the classroom for the protest, at least for some hours: Families and people of all ages also came to the demonstration. In advance of the event, organizers had called for a "Global Climate Strike" and initially expected around 3,000 participants.

Disruptions in train travel

Bonn police told the GA at midday on Friday that there was a large turnout of demonstrators with "several thousand" participants. More people joined in during the procession, explained Frank Piontek of the Bonn police. Despite the more than two-kilometer-long protest march, however, there were only temporary traffic disruptions in the city center, the spokesman said. This is because it didn’t take place during rush hour traffic. Police said the participants were peaceful and they had no reason to intervene. But there were interruptions, however, for buses and trains, especially lines 61 and 62, as reported by Veronika John from the local transport authorities. "In some cases, demonstrators also walked across the tracks, so that the trams at Bertha-von Suttner-Platz could only move at walking pace or had to wait for the demonstrators to pass," said the press spokeswoman. Both management and tram drivers had been informed in advance of the possible disruptions. The procession made its way on Adenauerallee to the Rhine promenade, took a loop through Nordstadt via Oxfordstrasse and returned via Münsterplatz to the Hofgarten, where a final rally was held at 3 pm.

Reproaches against the older generations

Two days before the Bundestag elections, the demonstration in Bonn was one of 400 initiatives across Germany, and part of 1,160 events worldwide. "If you can't vote, you have to strike!" said 15-year-old Meike Seuffert. Frieda Beyer (10) said in her speech, "It isn’t only the election, but also today's politics is the politics of adults who will most likely not live to see the worst consequences of their actions." Although she had no voice in the election, she wanted to be heard. "To make sure there is a change: All of us for 1.5 degrees!" The climate crisis has been scientifically recognized for many decades and poses huge systemic challenges to humanity, warned Fridays for Future Bonn (FFF). "This is not a problem we can deal with sometime in the distant future. The climate crisis is already a bitter reality that dramatically endangers us - and especially the youngest among us," worried Mairin Pakleppa (18). With the protest, FFF wanted to bring the issue of climate justice to the attention of Bonn residents once again in the lead up to the German national elections. "The voter group of the over 50-year-olds are a deciding force in the Bundestag election. They make up over half of all eligible voters. The future of the younger generation is literally in the hands of older people," said Julia Wischnewski (16). Many participants expect the next German government to act more quickly on the climate crisis.

"The new government should comply with the climate targets and take all measures to make the targets realistic. So far, the targets have been missed, and I expect the new coalition to do real climate protection and to do it as soon as possible," demanded university student Annika Bohlen (24). Marla Thüringer (16) said, "I expect the new government to set high goals on climate issues and not beat around the bush, but act and finally do what it should do." Another participant expected the next coalition to live up to its global responsibilities and lead the world as a role model on climate change. "We need to rethink our system and focus on people - not profit," demanded activist Simon Fuhrmann (22).

( Orig. text: Niklas Schröder; Translation: ck)