Major student Youth Strike 4 Climate protest outside Leeds Town Hall

A major demonstration against a lack of action on climate change is taking place outside Leeds Town Hall.

Students and young people take part un the the first ever UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate, protest in Leeds at Leeds Town Hall. Picture Tony Johnson.

Hundreds of students, sixth-formers and pupils are thought to be involved in the Youth Strike 4 Climate action in Leeds as rallies occur across the country.

University of Leeds politics student Jo Kamal, 21, helped to organise the strike, which has been inspired by a movement started in August when Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old, held a solo protest outside the Swedish parliament.

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Now, up to 70,000 schoolchildren each week hold protests in 270 towns and cities worldwide.

Students and young people take part un the the first ever UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate, protest in Leeds at Leeds Town Hall. Picture Tony Johnson.

Speaking about the motives of the strike, Miss Kamal said: "I think one of the placards said it very, very well: 'Why are we going to school if our future is so uncertain?'."

She estimated that around 500 people were outside the town hall, but others have claimed it could be around 2,000.

Miss Kamal, of Hyde Park, said: "For me personally, it's about making students feel empowered, making them feel like they can make change and show the politicians they care about their future."

She said it could be "really hard" to get people in charge to listen to young people, something they "110 per cent" needed to start doing.Parents had also joined the demonstrators in support, she said.

Students and young people take part un the the first ever UK-wide Youth Strike 4 Climate, protest in Leeds at Leeds Town Hall. Picture Tony Johnson.

Alex Sobel, Labour MP for Leeds North West, is expected to make a speech at the event alongside other campaigners today.

On Twitter last night, Mr Sobel said: "Really looking forward to speaking at this tomorrow. Great to see all the Towns and Cities I was educated in taking part in #YouthStrike4Climate."

Strikes were also due to take place in Scarborough, Sheffield, York, Liverpool and Manchester, among many other locations, today.

Anna Taylor of the UK Student Climate Network, which helped coordinate the protests, said: “We’re running out of time for meaningful change and that’s why we’re seeing young people around the world rising up to hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records.

“Unless we take positive action, the future’s looking bleak for those of us that have grown up in an era defined by climate change.”