Swedish protest leader and teenager Greta Thunberg on Friday posted images to Twitter from a protest in Tel Aviv amid dozens of other pictures on her feed from demonstrations across the world demanding swift action on climate change, which brought messages of support as well as comments on Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians.
Thunberg posted the first image, simply captioned “Tel Aviv!” in the same style that she used for publicizing all cities participating in the social action. The image had over 7.2 thousand likes and more than 400 comments, many of them urging a “free Palestine” or calling on Thunberg to do more “research” on Israel.
Some social media users suggested that the protests should be about the Palestinians rather than climate change. “Awesome! Now if only they would protest the brutal occupation and institutionalized racism of Israel,” wrote one user in a comment on a video from the Tel Aviv protest retweeted by Thunberg. The footage drew over 140,000 views and almost 8,000 likes.
There were also many messages of support for Israel and those thanking Thurnberg for posting the image.
Later in the day, Thunberg retweeted a series of images posted by an Israeli journalist at the Tel Aviv protest, which received thousands of likes and only a handful of negative comments.
— Greta Thunberg (@GretaThunberg) September 27, 2019
Over two thousand Israelis, mainly youth, took to the streets of Tel Aviv on Friday, joining a second wave of worldwide protests demanding swift action on climate change.
The participants in the “Students for Climate Change” demonstration gathered at the coastal city’s Great Synagogue on Allenby street and marched up Rothschild Boulevard to Habima Square.
— Edo Konrad (@edokonrad) September 27, 2019
Maya Van Gelder of the NGO Green Course urged the government to recognize the crisis and declare a climate emergency.
“The climate crisis is going to hit us all, especially in the Middle East, and its signals are already being felt here in Israel and around the world,” she said. “We need citizens and the government to unite [with the rest of the world] and take every effort to prevent the situation [from getting worse.]”
Friday’s rallies kicked off in New Zealand, where young people marched on Parliament in Wellington, holding one of the largest protests ever held there. Organizers in the capital were forced to change their security plans to accommodate the crowds, while thousands more marched in Auckland and other parts of the country.
Protests were held across Europe in cities like Milan, Rome, Berlin, Madrid, Barcelona, Amsterdam, and Budapest. Demonstrations were also held in India, Brazil, Argentina, Chile, and Canada were a protest in Montreal drew half a million people on Friday.
In Canada, Thunberg met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who praised her activism on climate change.
“She is the voice of a generation, of young people who are calling on their leaders to do more and do better,” Trudeau said. “And I am listening.”
Trudeau, who is in the middle of an election campaign, announced a plan to plant 2 billion trees over the next decade.
Thunberg, however, indicated that she expects more, even of leaders who welcome the movement. Scientists this week issued new dire warnings about the consequences of rising temperatures on the world’s oceans and cold regions.
Thunberg told a crowd in Montreal it was moving to see people of all generations so passionate for a cause.
Last Friday, more than six million youths — and adults — rallied in “climate strikes” around the world.