Going out into the street and skipping school in protest for climate that’s what hundreds of students did this Friday in Lisbon. “This fight is up to everyone because it influences everyone’s future”, considered Dinis Costa, one of the spokespersons for the Student Climate Strike movement, as he marched, shouting for more renewable energy and the end of dependence on fossil fuels until the end of this decade. According to the Public Security Police (PSP), around 300 people were present at this Friday’s climate strike.
The demonstration of the Student Climate Strike in Lisbon started in Alameda, passed by Instituto Superior Técnico, Escola Secundária Filipa de Lencastre, Escola Secundária Rainha D. Leonor and ended at Escola Secundária Padre António Vieira. Students chanted and demanded an end to fossil fuels by 2030 and 100% renewable and affordable energy by 2025.
The scheduled time was not met, but that did not worry the organization of the Student Climate Strike. “These things never start on time”, confessed student Ideal Maia to PÚBLICO. At 10:30 am, crowds of students began to emerge towards Alameda, in Lisbon. First came the voices: “Let it go, I’m an activist and I’m going to change the world”. Then, around the corners, centers of various schools and colleges with posters on top began to appear. At 11 am, the march started.
Ideal Maia is also one of the spokespersons for the movement. She is 21 years old and is a Physics student at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon, but she doesn’t know for how long. She says she still hasn’t paid any tuition this year and will have to drop out of college, but she considers herself “lucky to still be able to turn on the heater”. She guarantees that, on April 26, school and university occupations will return, similar to what happened in November 2022. “We do not occupy because it is fun, but because the future for which the school prepares us no longer exists” , she confessed. “The government and companies leave us no choice.”
What Ideal and everyone who joins her wants is “to mobilize society to put an end to fossil fuels and for energy democracy”. Dinis Costa also hopes that more people will join “for an action” that will take place after the spring occupations, in an attempt to block the “main entrance” of fossil gas in Portugal: the liquefied natural gas terminal in the port of Sines, managed by REN.
The aim is for this to be “the biggest act of civil resistance that a climate justice movement has ever staged in this country”. Sitting on the road in front of REN, on Avenida Estados Unidos da América, the demonstrators protested, spoke and appealed for more people to join this action on the “Stop Gas” platform, scheduled for 13 May.
During the strike, some party representatives appeared to support the student movement. Isabel Carmo, from PAN, underlined that the party is on the side of the “fight against climate change” and criticized that the Basic Climate Law was launched a year ago and “remains unregulated”, despite having “norms that are necessary and urgent”.
From the Bloco de Esquerda side, Pedro Filipe Soares says that these young people “are the adults in the room”. “They demand what we all should demand, but unfortunately the political powers don’t want to listen to them”. He also left criticisms of the Government which, he warns, “has allowed these large economic groups all the benefits in this context” and considers that “bolder policies” have been lacking.