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Dozens of Netley Primary School kids march on Regent's Place Plaza demanding action on climate change

PUBLISHED: 13:04 20 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:41 20 September 2019

Netley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Pictured, Marwa and Taskia from Year 5. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Netley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Pictured, Marwa and Taskia from Year 5. Picture: Sarah Burgess

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Striking children from Netley Primary School in Camden paraded around Regent's Place Plaza this morning demanding immediate government action on climate change.

Netley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah BurgessNetley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Joining in with the global protest movement led by 16-year-old activist Greta Thunberg, Netley's Year 4 class began filtering into the empty square at 9.30am with chants of "What do we want? Healthy planet! When do we want it? Now!"

Teacher and school eco-warrior Ruby Stolerman said: "Netley schoolchildren are here because we care about the planet. As an inner-city school, the pollution here is unacceptable. We have air purifiers in our classrooms and they're showing that pollution is even worse inside than it is outside.

"For lots of the children in this school, English is a second language. A lot of families are from Bangladesh and Somalia, and it's important that they too have the language necessary to speak about climate change, that they are aware of terms like fossil fuels and renewable energy.

"Some of our children, especially girls, have been discouraged from using their voice at home, but we want to show them that they can make a difference.'

Netley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah BurgessNetley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah Burgess

When asked about the opposition to primary school strikes by senior governmental figures, Ruby disagreed that sitting in a lesson was more important. "We're going to go back to our English class and write about how we've helped the climate," she said.

Posters and placards held by the children were applauded by passers-by. One read: "Politicians, your planet needs you! Not just words, we need action now!" Another read: "Face the earth or face us."

Taskia from Year 5 said: "We want to help save the world and protect the animals - because the ice is melting and creatures are dying. Fossil fuels release carbon dioxide which burns the earth. It's important we strike because it's our future, not the people in power."

Marwa, also from Year 5, agreed: "Governments should listen because people are destroying our world. The teachers have been so supportive of us and we hope the government will be too."

Netley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah BurgessNetley Primary School's climate strike at Regent's Place Plaza. Picture: Sarah Burgess

Dorothea Hackman, the vice chair of governors at Netley, called the strike "democracy in action".

Giving the example of the heavily polluted Euston Road just a couple of minutes' walk away, she said: "Inner-city children are having 18 months knocked off their life because of poor air quality. The council say it's a 'pan-London issue' but that's just an excuse.

"We've petitioned the Commons and House of Lords as a school council, but the democratic process has failed these kids completely. That's why I'm so happy they've taken to the streets."

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