MORE than 7,000 protesters shut down the city centre as they demanded more action on climate change.

Students and pupils skipped school and some adults went on strike as they marched through Brighton and Hove yesterday as part of a global general strike on climate change.

Protesters assembled at Hove Lawns at 11am, converging on the usually peaceful seaside park in preparation for the city’s biggest ever climate protest.


Students Matthew Parkin and Billy Thornett, both 18, had expected the large turnout.

“So many people are passionate about this and it’s great to see adults have supported us,” said Matthew.

“The Government is listening but they’re not acting fast enough. They’ve approved a third runway at Heathrow and they’re only going to cut carbon by 2050.”

Billy added: “It’s remarkable to see so many people of different ages turning up.”

Adults of all ages were fully behind the youngsters.

Neal Young, 66, and Liz Dawson, 67, both art students at Brighton Met College, held up placards made in their classes.

“We’re both deeply passionate about climate change,” said Liz.

“The Government isn’t listening and it seems like only money talks.

“I don’t have any children or grandchildren but I want to make sure we’re leaving the world in a good state for the next generation.”

Neal added: “Its like when you’re trying to put up a pelican crossing. You can only get one put up once someone is killed on the road.

“I feel like the Government will only take action once the worst effects set in.”

Brighton Pavilion MP Caroline Lucas rallied protesters before they set off down Brunswick Place.

“I see more political leadership here than I have ever seen in the corridors of Westminster,” the Green MP said.

“Greta Thunberg has said our house is on fire, so we need to act like it.

“But when you call 999 and ask for a fire engine, you don’t ask for it to come in 30 years’ time,” Ms Lucas said.

The crowd booed in their thousands when Ms Lucas revealed the Government will spend £30 million on climate change compared to £420 million on potholes.

The protesters then made their way up Brunswick Place as residents came outside to film.

Some even joined in.

Barry and Gillian Luckock waited until the march snaked past them before joining the protest.

“Our children are too old and our grandchildren can’t be here, so we’re representing our extended family,” said Barry.

“It shows what a politically conscious a city we have.”

As the march filtered into Western Road, the disruption began.

Traffic was brought to a standstill as police shut the roads, leaving some drivers stranded in a sea of protesters.

Some reacted angrily, while others honked in support. Chants of “Hey, ho, climate change has got to go” and “U-G-L-Y corporate scum you cheat and lie” rang out.

A large number shouted anti-Boris Johnson slogans too, including “When I say Boris, you say wasteman” and “F*** Boris Johnson”.

Despite the expletives, onlookers were generally supportive.

As the protest halted outside Churchill Square, pensioners sitting at a bus stop filmed and applauded.

Not all were happy though. One parent, who wished to remain nameless, said: “They look like they’re having a lot of fun, but they really should be in school.”

The march seemed to gain even more momentum as it moved down North Street.

At one point, five onlookers charged out of a side gate onto the street to join in, eliciting cheers from nearby protesters.

The youngsters were out in force by the time the march reached London Road. As they filtered into The Level, onlooking families had their phones ready for the throng of protesters.

At one point organiser Annapurna Morley, 18, asked the crowd to move further into the park as the rear of the protest was still in Old Steine.

Euro MP Alex Phillips sent the crowd into raptures as she demanded “systematic change”.

Ms Phillips, also Brighton mayor, said: “I have never seen so many people taking charge to demand action.”

Meanwhile mum Ellie Wyatt and ten-year-old daughter Alice read out a poem.

“We feel fear in the pit of our stomachs every time we think of your future,” said Ellie.