Czech University Students To Strike For Climate This Week

Striking students in Masaryk University’s Faculty of Social Sciences in November 2022. Credit: JS / BD.

Prague, Nov 15 (CTK) – Several thousand university students will go on strike this week due to the climate crisis, in order to make the case that an economy based on endless growth is not sustainable and launch a debate in Czech society, the organisers told reporters yesterday.

Jan Voves, from Universities for Climate, said the strike hopes to open a debate over whether the current system is exhausted. He said the current system has a negative impact on the climate and people’s lives, and a more democratic, sustainable and just alternative should be discussed.

The protesters want a climate law to be passed to ensure the continuity of Czech climate policy. They are also demanding the introduction of citizens’ assemblies and that the economy be measured using an indicator other than gross domestic product, which they argue is outdated and does not take into account the limits of the planet, the fulfilment of basic human needs or the distribution of wealth in society.

“The climate crisis is the greatest threat of our time. Last year, 60,000 people died in Europe alone from heat waves, which was just one of the problems caused by the climate crisis,” said Tereza Martinovska from Universities for Climate.

The strike will end with a parade through Prague and other cities on 17 November, when the Czech Republic commemorates the Velvet Revolution. The organisers of the protest want to revive the legacy of the Velvet Revolution’s demands, which were aimed at decent housing for young families, environmental protection and affordable healthcare, Martinovska said, adding that these demands have not yet been met.

The protest will take place in Prague, Brno, Olomouc, Hradec Kralove and Pardubice, with 21 faculties from nine universities expected to participate. The striking students will not participate in classes, but will instead hold lectures, workshops and debates within their faculties. Students will also camp overnight in some faculties.

Universities for Climate is a student movement founded in 2019 in response to the high school initiative Fridays for Future, which was sparked by Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. This will be the third time that students will be protesting with a climate strike; the movement staged previous strikes in 2019 and 2022.

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