#FightEveryCrisis: Biggest digital demonstration ever and climate strikes around the world

Zur deutschen Version geht es hier.

We are currently experiencing a crisis that turns everything upside down – including the conditions under which we demonstrate. Yet on Friday, April 24th, 2020, tens of thousands of people around the world made a statement: whether by joining the livestream, participating in digital striking or through local creative campaigns – with appropriate safety precautions, everyone involved in an unmistakeable and creative way called for action: We demand decisive action in the Climate crisis! The climate crisis – just like the corona crisis – is already a real threat to human life and, if we do not act now, will have far worse consequences. That is why we say: #FightEveryCrisis like a crisis: With determination and solidarity!

In politics, however, the determination that can rightly be seen in the corona crisis can hardly be recognized when it comes to climate policy. How can it be that people are currently thinking about postponing or relaxing climate targets? It’s about our future! Climate protection is essential now. 

It is precisely for this reason that it is so good to see how many people have used their creativity, energy and motivation to ensure that this global climate strike has become great, despite the special circumstances: 87,000 people in Germany alone demonstrated through an entry on the digital strike map of Fridays For Future Germany that they are calling for determined climate protection. We have spread this demand loudly on social media: Under the hashtag # NetzstreikFürsKlima (Digital strike for the climate) people showed their protest. A total of 40,000 tweets were written on Twitter for the hashtags of the global strike day!

And a few more incredible numbers: With 214,000 gathered views on the German protest-livestream, we can say that this was the largest online demonstration in history! During the livestream we witnessed, how over 15,000 demo signs were laid out in the German capitial Berlin in front of the parliament: The signs were representatives for all people who would actually like to be on the streets now to protest for climate justice. The signs – which were gathered and distributed with the infection protection measures in mind – came from over 70 local groups from all over Germany.

In addition to guest appearances by well-known faces such as Katja Riemann (actress), Erik Marquart (Member of the European Parliament), Eckart von Hirchhausen (doctor and comedian) and Lena Meyer-Landrut (singer), we saw many other creative actions and, above all, many great activists who are passionate about climate justice – in the livestream and elsewhere!

For example, the Hochneukirch local group, together with the Cologne local group, showed live pictures of the anti-coal protests in the Rhineland district. For this, among other things, activists from the Hambach Forest and from the nationwide initiative “All Villages Remain” were interviewed. The “All Villages Remain” (Alle Dörfer bleiben) initiative has been engaging for years to stop the climate damaging coal production and in connection with that the relocation of villages and destruction of forests that are located on the ground of a coal field.

The Constance local group carried out several campaigns at once: as part of a „window strike“, numerous banners were hung from the houses. At the same time, you could get to know local groups better in a digital meeting and more than 80 letters of protest were written to a local politician to remind him that economic stimulus packages decided in Corona times also were to be compatible with the vital 1.5 degree goal.
In Kiel, a total of 140 activists demonstrated against the expansion of a local street into a motorway by participating in a bicycle demonstration. By taking the road back by bike, they denounced the fatal climate protection decision to seal even more space for car traffic.

Attention was also drawn to the climate crisis in Darmstadt, in this difficult time, of course, under special conditions: in addition to the digital strike for the climate and a regional livestream, there were also campaigns on the street – of course taking the infection protection measures into account. For example, an action walk was organized: the Darmstadt local group published a route through the entire city center, along which it was then possible to walk and leave traces in the form of banners, posters and chalk. The activists had prepared the route the day before with hundreds of posters. Unfortunately, most of these were torn down – nevertheless, many Darmstadt residents came along during the day and made the route colorful again.

The protest was creative and colorful in many places: Not only people were on strike in Münster – Trees too: They also wore protest signs.

The Mainz local group not only sent a large package with over 50 posters to the capital Berlin together with the local group Bingen for the creative protest in front of the parliament mentioned above and made a short video for the nationwide livestream. They also sent a clear sign for climate justice by illuminating local landmarks with green light.

In Stuttgart, a climate walk was organized in addition to the digital strike for the climate – decentralized and in compliance with the corona regulations, posters, banners and chalk paintings were left at certain stations in the city center. Although everything had been agreed beforehand with the regulatory office and all security measures had been followed, there were unfortunately misunderstandings and intimidation from the police.

At this point, we would like to emphasize that we take security measures very seriously for our protection and out of solidarity and therefore find creative ways to protest. The climate crisis is also a crisis in which urgent action must be taken to protect those affected – all of us. We have the fundamental right to demand this through political protest.

Other local groups used the day to network and exchange ideas. 214 people took part in a nationwide digital meeting! There, for example, the local group Neuruppin presented a concept with which one can call a so-called „climate day“ in schools. This can be used as an inspiration for schools to conduct a climate project day in advance of a protest and then to integrate the demonstration.

These are just a few examples of the innumerable actions with which we protested loudly for climate justice on April 24th. But not only in Germany, but worldwide, people have made their opinions known:    

Fridays For Future in North Macedonia, for example, put their strike online due to strict curfews and organized four webinars on nature, energy, tourism and waste management. This was the highlight of their Talks for Future, which had been running for a month. They told us that it was really difficult to get attention to the issue of  climate at the moment, because Corona dominated everyday life. Nevertheless, they were optimistic: “These two topics are not that different and we hope that we can reach and inform as many people as possible so that when we are back on the streets, we have a lot of people who are committed and who have a deeper understanding of what they stand for. „

In the Pacific island state of Vanuatu, climate activists had to relocate their protest due to Corona and the cyclone Harold off the streets and into a digital format: They recorded videos and sent them to local TV and radio stations with a request to show them during commercial breaks. They also use the time to build their movement and its strategy for the future.

Vanessa Nakate, a climate activist in Uganda, reports that, even before Corona it was difficult to organize large-scale climate strikes, as she was often not given permission to organize major strikes and strikers were threatened with expulsion from school. “But, many of those that do come out, are on the front line of the climate crisis. They have seen the impacts themselves, and their families have been affected by droughts, flooding, landslides, and locusts. That is why, even though the numbers are small, it feels equally powerful.” In Uganda, climate activists have also protested digitally. However, not everyone, including often the people most affected by the climate crisis, has a cell phone and / or access to good internet: “So, it is up to those of us who have platforms during this time of lockdown, to use our voices to speak for them.”

To all active people out there who are committed to climate justice: You are great! Keep it up!We will not be silenced until our politicians react to the climate crisis, as is appropriate to respond to a crisis: determined, based on science and in solidarity. #FightEveryCrisis

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