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Thunberg to join mass German climate strikes before vote

More than 400 “climate strikes” are planned across Germany, with the Swedish Thunberg, who inspired the movement, expected to speak outside the Reichstag parliament building

Tens of thousands of climate activists including Greta Thunberg are due to descend on German cities Friday ahead of the weekend general election to crank up the pressure on the candidates to succeed Angela Merkel.

As Germany’s top parties hold final rallies ahead of Sunday’s vote, the Fridays for Future youth marches will make the case that the political class has let down the younger generation.

Neubauer said “big change” would only be possible “if we create pressure from the streets” and tell the major parties “now there are no more excuses”.

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Polls give Scholz a small lead of about 25 percent over Laschet at around 21 percent, with the candidate from the ecologist Greens, Annalena Baerbock, trailing in the mid-teens.

More than 400 “climate strikes” are planned across Germany, with the Swedish Thunberg, who inspired the movement, expected to speak outside the Reichstag parliament building.

– ‘Unfair burden’ –

Their central demand is to limit the warming of the Earth to maximum 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 Fahrenheit) as laid out in the 2015 Paris climate accord.

Despite Merkel’s vocal support of climate protection measures, Germany has repeatedly failed in recent years to meet its emission reduction targets under the pact.

The Fridays for Future movement launched global school strikes more than two years ago arguing that time was running out to stop irreversible damage from the warming of the planet.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic put the brakes on its weekly rallies but the election campaign in Europe’s top economy has revitalised the movement.

“We can’t just vote for change, we also have to be active democratic citizens and go out on the streets and demand action.”

Around 60.4 million Germans are called to the polls on Sunday and most voters cite climate protection among their top priorities.

However the Fridays for Future activists have said even the Greens’ official programme falls short of what is needed to stick to the 1.5 degree Celsius temperature rise.

While the party is expected to fall far short of its ambition to win the election Sunday and place Baerbock in the chancellery, polls indicate it has a good chance of joining a ruling coalition as a junior partner under Scholz or Laschet.

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