The global youth movement launched by Swedish climate change activist Greta Thunberg called Fridays for Future is set to launch a series of events in protest of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The group was preparing to kick off their series of rallies on Thursday in over 40 cities as the list was growing rapidly since the protests were announced at the close of February.
“All across the world, people are taking to the streets,” said Dominika Lasota, a 20-year-old student who studies at the University of Warsaw in Poland and participates as a climate justice activist with Fridays for Future. “It’s quite surreal to see it all unfolding, because it has felt like such a dark time – but still, Fridays for Future rises up to that.”
The group has become known for its trademark “youth strikes” during which students leave classes to call for action against climate change. Now, the activists look to interrupt their daily lives to protest the war.
“We are running a demonstration at 12 p.m., in the middle of the day, because the lives of the Ukrainian people have been stopped, not by their choice,” Lasota continued. “We also want to stop our lives in solidarity with them.” Activists selected Thursday as the start date because it marks one week since the unprovoked invasion began.
Poland shares a border with Ukraine and the country has already received an influx of over half a million refugees fleeing Russia’s military invasion. “Warsaw currently is a base of tens and tens of thousands of refugees coming over from Ukraine,” Lasota added.
“Every day, I walk around the city now, and I see many, many people being lost, arriving at the train station, and trying to find their way in a completely new place. And we also have had a tremendously strong Ukrainian community for years now.”
Lasota continued: “On Thursday, we are hosting the strike in solidarity and close collaboration with the Ukrainian community here. Ukrainian voices, refugee voices, will be leading that demonstration, and we as Fridays will be the host, providing logistics to make it happen.”
ARTICLE: ELIZABETH HERTZBERG
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: DECCAN HERALD