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  1. ITV Report

Hundreds of pupils protest over climate change

Hundreds of schoolchildren across the East have walked out of lessons to demand action over climate change.

Children protesting in Cambridge this morning. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The national protest, called 'Youth Strike 4 Climate', was led by a coalition of campaigners who are calling on the Government to declare "a state of climate emergency".

More than 30 towns and cities across the country, including Norwich and Cambridge took part in the protest.

Protests were taking place in Cambridge and Norwich Credit: ITV News Anglia

A global day of action is due to follow on March 15.

Credit: ITV News Anglia
Students protesting outside the Forum in Norwich Credit: ITV News Anglia

We're running out of time for meaningful change, and that's why we're seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.Unless we take positive action, the future's looking bleak for those of us that have grown up in an era defined by climate change.

– Anna Taylor, of UK Student Climate Network
Credit: ITV News Anglia

The protest comes in the wake of a UN report which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years.

The protest had the backing of wildlife presenter Chris Packham.

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Outside Cambridgeshire County Council's offices, a demonstrator led chants of "Whose future? Our future" and "Hey, ho, fossil fuels have got to go."

Jasper Giles, a six-year-old pupil at University of Cambridge Primary School, attended with his mother Alissia Roberts.

She said: "I think it's worth taking a day off school to show support for this movement, I think it's really important and it will gather momentum."

Ten-year-old Zachary Hird, a pupil at Cambridge's Newnham Croft Primary School, was at the protest with his mother Diane.

He said:

"We don't want climate change and people just have to change their ways as we don't want the world as it is right now. We just want to make people aware of it. We were talking about it in our class so we just came along.

– Zachary Hird

Asked how he felt about missing lessons for the day, he said: "I feel climate change is more important - the world dying is a lot more bad than just, yeah."

Children turned out for protest Credit: ITV News Anglia
  • Watch Kate Prout's report about the protests in the East of the region

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said it supported the right of young people to express themselves but it did not condone students being out of the classroom to take action.

  • Watch an interview with Geoff Barton from the Association of School and College Leaders