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A large climate protest, or a strike, in the spirit of the environmental activist, Greta Thunberg, was arranged in Helsinki in front of the Parliament Building in sunny autumn weather on Friday.
According to the estimates of the Helsinki Police Department, 5,000 people joined the protest, even though the estimates on social media varied from 11,000 to 15,000. The largest estimate was given by Liisa Rohweder, CEO of WWF Finland, on Twitter: 19,000 people.
Nevertheless, the main road in Helsinki center, Mannerheimintie, was blocked from traffic after the protesters scattered out in the middle of the road. The traffic police directed the cars on smaller roads. The cars moved very slowly. Some resorted to honking but it had little if no effect. The cars kept moving slowly.
Many of the protesters were school children. Helsinki schools had granted permission to take a day off from the school if a student was going to join the demonstration.
Similar but smaller protests were arranged at 22 regions across Finland; gigantic climate strikes were arranged around the world. In New Zealand, the arrangers say that 170,000 protesters joined the protest across the country.
In Helsinki, teenagers kept short speeches.
One of them was Elsa Koivisto, 14.
“Small everyday things can have a huge impact on climate,” she said.
“For example, shut the lights when you leave the apartment. Or choose vegetarian pizza over a meaty one!” she said loudly and the crowd cheered.