Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg has told thousands of demonstrators in Germany ahead of a weekend general election that “no political party” was doing enough to fight the climate crisis.
“Yes, we must vote, you must vote, but remember that voting only will not be enough. We must keep going into the streets,” Thunberg said at a Friday for Future rally in front of the Reichstag parliament building ahead of Sunday’s poll.
The protest outside the Reichstag in Berlin on Friday was part of a string of rallies around the world amid dire warnings the planet faces dangerous temperature rises unless greenhouse gas emissions are cut sharply in the coming years.
The idea for a global “climate strike” was inspired by Thunberg’s solo protest in Stockholm three years ago.
It snowballed into a mass movement until the coronavirus pandemic put a stop to large gatherings.
Activists have only recently started staging smaller gatherings.
‘This is the very last warning’
Rene Bohrenfeldt, an IT expert taking part in the Berlin rally, said he hoped older Germans would consider the issue when casting their votes on Sunday.
“The majority of voters are older than 50 and determine the outcome of the election,” Bohrenfeldt, 36, said. “I appeal to all grandmothers to make the right decision for the climate and for their grandchildren.”
Christiane Koetter-Lietz, who attended with her children and grandchildren, said she would be voting for Germany’s Green party, which has campaigned for tougher measures to cut the country’s greenhouse gas emissions.
“We have water catastrophes, fire catastrophes, the world is burning. This is the very last warning,” said the 69-year-old from the western town of Unna.
The race has boiled down to a two-way contest between Social Democrat Olaf Scholz, the centrist finance minister, and Armin Laschet from Merkel’s conservative Christian Democrats. They were set to address crowds later on Friday, in Cologne and Munich respectively.
Polls give Scholz a small lead with about 26 percent over Laschet at 22 percent. The candidate from the ecologist Greens, Annalena Baerbock, trails in the mid-teens.
Thunberg stopped short of endorsing the Green party, whose programme Fridays for Future activists argue falls short of what is needed to effectively curb global heating.