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Young activists, students seize focus at COP26 climate summit in Scotland

Young activists, students seize focus at COP26 climate summit in Scotland
Young activists participate in a student march against climate change on Friday on the sidelines of the U.N. Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow, Scotland. Photo by Robert Perry/EPA-EFE

Nov. 5 (UPI) -- After a week of speeches, meetings and agreements, the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Scotland is focusing Friday on activists and non-government leaders.

The events in Glasgow on Friday were to include a student march, civilian presentations and Swedish climate proponent Greta Thunberg.

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Thunberg joined thousands of activists in a march to capture the attention of the world leaders who are attending the COP26 summit, as well as those who aren't.

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The marchers, organized by Fridays for Future Scotland, demonstrated from Kelvingrove Park to George Square in the middle of Glasgow's city center.

Thunberg, activist Vanessa Nakate and other young demonstrators were expected to speak along with local trade unionists.

Thunberg, 18, has been critical of the U.N. conference, mainly because she says it lacks real and significant action to mitigate climate change. She said leaders have celebrated future strategies, but aren't making tough decisions on what needs to be done now.

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"This is no longer a climate conference. This is a Global North greenwash festival," Thunberg tweeted Thursday. "A two-week celebration of business as usual and blah blah blah."

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's office frowned on young people leaving school Friday to take part in the march. Johnson has been hosting the summit since it began on Sunday.

"We do understand why young people feel so strongly about climate change, and we want to see them use that passion and turn it into action," a spokesman from Johnson's office said, according to The Independent.

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