Activists stage global climate protest

“There are a lot of Russians who are against (Russian President Vladimir) Putin, and they don’t support what Putin is doing,” Polina Oleinikova told The Associate Press.

Oleinikova, 19, said people who speak out against the government in Russia “now risk being imprisoned on a daily basis”.

“It’s very scary and we’re scared, but we continue to (do) our activism because we think it’s very important,” she said. “It’s the right thing to do and we won’t stop.”

Fellow climate activist Arshak Makichyan said the war in Ukraine and sanctions imposed on Russia by the West were also having a drastic impact on the Russian economy.

“Everything we had is falling apart,” he said, adding that he hoped Putin would be forced out and brought to justice.

Ilyess El Kortbi, a 25-year-old who helped set up Fridays for Future Ukraine, praised fellow Russian activists for speaking out.

“They’re doing the best they can,” he told the AP. “Even though their regime is authoritarian and truly repressive, they continue to stand with us against Putin.”

El Kortbi, who managed to flee just before the Russian advance reached his hometown of Kharkiv, called on Germany and other European countries to stop buying fossil fuels from Russia.

“The war in Ukraine could end at any time,” he said. “The EU and especially Germany just have to stop funding this.”

This message was echoed by many Germans on the march, frustrated that their country is paying tens of millions of euros (dollars) a day to buy fossil fuels that are contributing to Moscow’s war chest even as the burning of the oil, gas and coal harm the planet. .

“We are here today to show that peace and climate justice go hand in hand,” said Clara Duvigneau, a student from Berlin.

She said Germany should invest in renewable energy rather than seek alternative sources of oil and gas from places such as the Gulf or the United States.

“We want the energy transition to happen as quickly as possible,” Duvigneau said.

Several hundred young people gathered in Paris, marching from the domed Left Bank Pantheon to Place de la Bastille.

They carried signs reading “Wake Up” with a drawing of an Earth on fire, calling on French presidential candidates to do more to fight climate change, or accusing the French oil company TotalEnergies of getting closer to Putin for his refusal to withdraw from Russia.

In Washington, DC, protesters gathered in Lafayette Square across from the White House before marching to the US Capitol.

A few hundred young people showed up, many carrying placards and placards, including one that read, “Fossil Fuels Fund War. Green energy now.

Sophia Geiger, 19, a Fridays for Future activist, said she wants President Joe Biden to declare a national climate emergency – a repeated request from environmental groups since Biden took office.

Geiger, who is taking a year off from his studies to focus on climate action, said: “While he recognizes this is a crisis, he is not acting on it.”

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