IT was the day people across the globe came together. Marched together. A world in motion.

Led by children wide-eyed and determined, their Fridays for Future movement was followed en masse by adults, celebrities and politicians, all making a stand against a climate emergency that is fast becoming a human catastrophe.

Millions across the world took to their streets in one mass movement demanding that their governments, politicians, employers, business leaders, retailers, manufacturers, farmers, supermarkets, travel firms, energy providers and friends – do more. Tiny voices suddenly roared. Nations stood still. 

Images of young and the old standing together, home-made placards in hand, were beamed across borders as, first, Australia, then Indonesia, Europe, Africa, Antarctica, and, finally, North and South America joined in the biggest climate protest ever seen.

In the UK, hundreds of thousands of people took part. Children and students  walked out of lessons and lectures and were joined by parents, campaigners and workers as part of global climate strikes that look set to be the largest environmental protests in history.

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Thousands in Scotland, including children, joined millions of others across the world as part of a global climate strike. 

Marches were held in cities including Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, Inverness,  Perth and Aberdeen, and  towns as far apart as Ullapool and Kirkcudbright, as well as throughout the UK.

Stars including comedian Sir Billy Connelly joined them in support, businesses such as ScottishPower allowed staff free rein to take part too. 

More than 20,000 are thought to have marched in Edinburgh and 10,000 in Glasgow as crowds flocked on to the streets.

The action was inspired by Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg, who began a series of school strikes last year in a call to tackle climate change. 

Dylan Hamilton, a member of Scottish Youth Climate Strike who helped organised the global strike told reporters: “We are making history by standing up for our future. The people have protested, we marched and then we rallied. We have made our position clear; the government needs to act for the future of humanity. Politicians have spent decades sitting around talking, but if your house is burning down you wouldn’t stop to talk about money, you would act. 

“All those protesting today have shown that action has an impact.”

“There has never been a more important issue facing humanity than the climate crisis. With the week of action to come we will show that we won’t go away, today’s protest will show the world that the people want action that responds to what climate science demands.”

Erin Curtis, 15, from Glasgow said: “It’s absolutely amazing to see so many people striking with us today. The fact that our streets have been filled with everyone demanding action sends a clear message to those in power that the public want to see change.

“The momentum from people is there, we want a better future, and all of us uniting for this protest will drive home to the Government that we won’t stand for platitudes any longer.”

Speaking at the rally in Glasgow, Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie said: “This younger generation is giving the leadership that my generation has failed to show.

“These people know that their future is in peril and there is hope if this generation can take the political power that it’s capable of on a day like this.... it’s been amazing and it really gives me inspiration and hope for the future.

“You look around the world at the problems that we’re facing at the moment, you’d be forgiven for pulling the duvet over you, curling into a ball and trying to ignore the problems the world is facing.

“But if a generation likes this discovers its political power by acting together, recognising that we need system change if we’re going to prevent climate change, then there is real hope.”

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Liberal Democrat leader Jo Swinson was also at the Glasgow climate march and called for radical proposals to tackle climate change.

She said: “It was inspiring to see so many determined young people at the Glasgow Youth Climate March today. We all urgently need to raise awareness of the climate crisis and demand strong action to stop irreversible damage.

“Protecting the planet for future generations is a cause close to my heart, when I think of my own two boys. They, and all children, cannot be made to pay because Governments like our current one did not take action in time.”

Erin Hicks, nine, who goes to school in Edinburgh, was taking part in the march with his family. 

He said people should respect the climate and help protect polar bears, adding:

“I just think that we should try to save the planet. I have got lots of friends here – I went on the march with one of my friends and lots of us are off school.

Our teachers encourage us to think about the world and help the climate.”
Erin said he wanted politicians to stop giving money to the oil industry and to cut down on plastics. 

Elsewhere, Cameron Du Puy, 13, also urged politicians to find a way to ditch single-use plastics. 

He said: “We are here to stop climate change, so we can have a future – so children can have a future and the planet will be safe.”

Cameron’s mum Raine said it was “utterly fabulous” to see so many children getting involved, adding: “They learn about it in school now, which is great.

“It’s quite inspiring as well, even just seeing what people have written on their banners and the different ideas that come from that.”

David Goldberg, 18, a student at Edinburgh University, praised the “community spirit” fostered by the march.  He said: “It’s really good. We have got a generation of people that really care about the planet. That’s really nice.  It’s something more than a protest. It’s a group of people who are likeminded. It’s a massive community, in a way.”

Tiggy Wilkes, 20, also a student, said the strike showed “strength in numbers”. 

She said: “This is one of the best ways to show our support. It’s great to see everyone here.”

Jamie Livingstone, Head of Oxfam Scotland, said: “From the surge in support for Greta Thunberg to the global school strike movement, it is inspiring to see the next generation demand urgent and sustained action on the climate crisis. 

“Having helped to cause this crisis, rich countries like Scotland have a moral obligation to the world’s poorest countries where the current generation is already living with the life-and-death consequences of decades of inaction.

Young people around the globe – including in Scotland – know this is wrong, and that things need to change. 

“We’re joining these huge marches on Scotland’s streets because the climate emergency requires an emergency response, and we want to echo the school strikers’ call to world leaders to match rhetoric with immediate and lasting policy changes. 

“Next week, MSPs will vote to write the Climate Change Bill into law and they must prove they are listening to the young people up and down the country demanding tougher and faster action. Reducing our emissions quickly in the next 10 years is essential if we are to help prevent this climate emergency from becoming a global climate catastrophe.”

Ahead of the strike action, the Scottish Government said it is “leading by example” through its bold actions to address the climate emergency.

A spokesman said: “The global climate emergency and a Green New Deal for Scotland are at the centre of our Programme for Government.

“We are leading by example through bold actions. We are redoubling our efforts and we will end Scotland’s contribution to global climate change by 2045.”

In London, where estimates put crowds at 100,000, Green Party politician Caroline Lucas said: “It feels like there is a real uprising. It feels like there is a real sense from young people in particular that they simply won’t wait any longer.

“It is their future that is at stake and our generation, my generation is responsible for not having done nearly enough to address that.

“They have enormous moral authority when they tell us that.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn told the youth movement that “you and a whole generation have brought the issue centre stage and I am absolutely delighted about that”.

READ MORE: Demand for post-Brexit environment protection laws as Scots show support in poll 

He criticised US President Donald Trump for his failure to act on climate change and had a message for Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro that he wanted to work with him to preserve and protect the Amazon rainforest.

One of the protesters, Jessica Ahmed, 16, from Barnet, north London, said: “School is important but so is my future,” and called on the Government to acknowledge the severity of the climate crisis.

“If politicians were taking the appropriate action we need and had been taking this action a long time ago when it was recognised the world was changing in a negative way, then I would not have to be skipping school.”

In Belfast, organisers put the turnout at between 3,000 and 4,000, with young people taking over the Corn Market area of the city centre and staging a “mass die-in”, before marching towards City Hall.

Some of Friday’s first protests were held in Australia, where an estimated 300,000 people gathered at more than 100 rallies calling for action to guard against climate change.

Some of the first rallies were held in Australia’s largest city, Sydney, and the national capital, Canberra. Australian demonstrators called for their nation - the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas - to take more drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Organisers estimated more than 300,000 protesters took to Australian streets in what would be the largest demonstrations in the country since the Iraq War began in 2003.

In Thailand hundreds of people marched in the streets of the capital Bangkok to demand the government takes measures to deal with the climate change crisis.

An organiser said about 250 people, mostly children with their parents, took part. Many were Westerners.

Organiser, 21-year-old Nanticha Ocharoenchai, said the demonstrators stopped at the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment to submit an open letter demanding the government declare a climate emergency, ban coal energy by 2025 and completely replace fossil fuel energy with renewable energy by 2040.

The protesters staged a “die-in” outside the ministry to dramatise their concerns, lying down on the pavement with many clutching home-made signs with slogans such as “Clean air is our right”.

Dozens of students and environmental activist sin India  gathered in the capital demanding immediate action. They assembled outside the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs in New Delhi.

They chanted slogans like “We want climate action” and “I want to breathe clean”, and carried banners with messages like “There is no earth B” and “Eco, not ego!”

About 50 people with banners and posters chanted “stop the pollution” as they marched along the harbour front in Hong Kong under a blazing sun. Organiser Dhanada Mishra, a visiting scholar at 

In Berlin, organisers said 80,000 people gathered in front of the capital’s landmark Brandenburg Gate, not far from Chancellor Angela Merkel’s office where the cabinet was thrashing out the final details of a plan to curb Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Police said several dozen activists also blocked a road in the heart of Frankfurt, Germany’s financial capital.

Dozens of activists marched in Manila in the Philippines to honour the memory of activists in the Philippines who were killed for defending the environment.

They marched to the offices of the Environment and Natural Resources Department, then staged a “die-in” protest while holding a banner saying “Stop the killings. Defend the environment defenders now!”

The group Global Witness says the Philippines had the highest number of killings of environmental defenders of any country in 2018, with at least 30 murdered.

A separate rally organised by student groups gathered in the afternoon at the state university. Hundreds participated bunched together to hold placards forming an image of the earth, with a big sign that said “There is no Planet B”.

Many middle schools gave students the day off in Poland to enable them to take part in the global climate protest. Thousands joined colourful marches with banners reading “There is NO Planet B” in the capital Warsaw and many other cities.

Critics say the government is dragging its feet on its programme of subsidies for families who do away with coal-burning heaters that are largely responsible for smog, especially in southern regions.

A coal-producing nation with tens of thousands of jobs in mining, Poland gets 80% of its energy from fossil fuels. The government’s plan for phasing coal out is slow paced, reaching to 2050.

Afghanistan saw about 100 young people, with several young women in the front carrying a banner emblazoned with “Fridays for future”, marched through central Kabul, following an armoured personnel carrier deployed for their protection as well as half a dozen army personnel behind them and along the route.

Fardeen Barakzai, one of the organisers and head of the local climate group called Oxygen, said: “We want to do our part. We as the youth of our country know the problem of climate change. We know war can kill a group of people... the problem in Afghanistan is our leaders are fighting for power but the real power is in nature.”

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Thousands of students gathered in the Old Town Square in Prague, waving banners that read “More love, less coal”, “Science, not silence” and “Why should we go to universities when they don’t listen to the educated?” before marching through the city.

Organisers say rallies are taking place in about 40 places across the country.

In neighbouring Slovakia, President Zuzana Caputova has thrown her weight behind thousands of students rallying in four major cities, including the capital of Bratislava.

A sign reading “Lawmaker: know your climate” stood out in a sea of umbrellas during the event in Copenhagen. Smaller demonstrations were held in other Danish cities.

In Finland’s capital Helsinki, a man dressed as Santa Claus stood outside parliament holding a sign that said: “My house is on fire, my reindeer can’t swim.” A rally in Swedish capital Stockholm snaked through the city centre behind a banner reading “School strike for climate”.

Teenagers and children as young as 10 in Paris traded classrooms for the streets to call on their government to do more to combat climate change.

Chanting “anti-capitalism” and “join us, don’t watch us”, they marched from the Place de la Nation to Parc de Bercy. The demonstration took on a festival-like feel as bands played and youngsters danced in the eastern Paris park.

Hundreds joined demonstrations in several cities in Bosnia, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia, demanding action to protect the environment and address pollution.

In the southern Bosnian city of Mostar, about 100 high school students held a protest march. Some held banners that read: “Save the World” and “Our home is burning!”

Several hundred young people gathered in Split, on Croatia’s Adriatic Sea coast, carrying a huge banner that urged, “Split, wake up!” Activists warned Split could face flooding due to global warming. Dozens of people also marched through Serbia’s capital Belgrade and in Montenegro’s capital Podgorica.

Banners in Kenya’s capital Nairobi ranged from angry to playful, with one reading: “This planet is getting hotter than my imaginary boyfriend.” Other protests are taking place in Johannesburg and the South African capital Pretoria. Hundreds of people gathered in Johannesburg chanted and waved signs saying “Climate justice now” and “There’s only one Earth”.

Experts say Africa is the most vulnerable continent to climate change and the least equipped to deal with it. Governments have pleaded for more support from the international community.

Residents of Africa’s most populous city, Lagos in Nigeria, joined the demonstrations.

Environmentalist Desmond Majekodunmi said for the first time all of humanity faces a threat to their very existence, “so the only way we can overcome that problem is by coming together, forgetting our differences”.

The UN climate summit takes place in New York next week, Greta Thunberg among those taking part, to emphasise her perhaps prophetic words that resonated around the world again yesterday of how  “no-one is too small to make a difference.”