Mark Evans / Getty Images
Updated at 5am
Hundreds of thousands of protesters, including many young activists, turned out for rallies across Australia on Friday, launching a day of protests around the world to demand action against climate change.
More than 800 demonstrations were planned Friday in the United States, with thousands of young people expected to be skipping school. Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg, a figure in the climate school movement, is expected to attend a rally in New York's Thomas Pine Park.
Rallies have begun in dozens of countries, including the United Kingdom, France and Germany, where Chancellor Angela Merkel plans to announce government measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions .
Protests, dubbed the "global climate strike", continue ahead of a planned UN climate summit, which begins in New York on Monday. In March, a similar protest, inspired by Thunberg, drew crowds around the world, including thousands of young students who had failed to attend school.
Organizers say more than 300,000 people gathered in more than 100 rallies in cities in Australia, most notably Melbourne, where they found themselves about 100,000 and Sydney, which reports that 80,000 are in attendance. Tens of thousands are said to have left for Canberra, Perth, Brisbane and Adelaide.
The number of participants cannot be immediately verified.
In Sydney, 18-year-old Moemoana comes from Wollongong to protest on behalf of her native Samoa, one of thousands of low-lying islands in the world that are particularly at risk of rising sea levels due to climate change.
"The Pacific Islands are meters above sea level due to climate change and this is a scary future for our islands," she was quoted by The Guardian Australia as saying. "We want to call on people to take action. . "
The 18-year-old Moemoana, (center), came from Wollongong to protest and her home country is Samoa.
" This is a real threat and Australia needs to know that the Pacific is neighbors and Australia really needs to help. " #climatestrike pic.twitter.com/67bvwsdnuU
– Helen Davidson (@heldavidson) September 20, 2019
Av trawl is the largest exporter in the world of coal and liquefied natural gas – both major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions – protesters have demanded that government and business commit to a net zero carbon target by 2030.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison, who is in the United States at a state dinner with President Trump, has been criticized for not including the UN.
At least 2,000 companies in Australia have given employees free time to attend rallies, according to Sydney Morning Herald . Meanwhile, the country's current Prime Minister Michael McCormack, speaking in Melbourne, called the rallies "mere embarrassment" and expressed his displeasure with the students attending the protests.
"These kinds of rallies should be held over a weekend where it doesn't really disrupt business, disrupt schools, disrupt universities," McCormack told reporters according to The Associated Press.
In Kiribati, an island chain in the Pacific, which experts fear could be flooded by sea levels over the next 25 years, some signs worn by protesters said: "We are not sinking, we are fighting . "
About 200 young activists went to the Ministry of Environment in Bangkok, Thailand, where they fell to mock death to ask the government to declare a climate emergency.
"We are young, but we are not stupid. We know it is happening. We need change. We need better ones," 11-year-old Ralin Lily Satidanassarn told Bangkok Post.
In India, dozens of students and activists gathered in the capital, New Delhi, outside the country's Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, carrying banners that read "Eco, not ego!" and chanting "I want to breathe clean."