Bonn/Siegburg. The climate action week of the protest movement "Fridays for Future" began on Friday morning in Bonn and the Rhein-Sieg district. Nearly 15,000 demonstrators were out in Bonn. Local traffic came to a standstill in the afternoon.
A young man stands on an improvised stage in the Hofgarten next to the Academic Art Museum, shouting his heart out. The loudspeaker system isn’t strong enough to make him heard by all who are waiting in the park on Friday morning for the start signal of the "Fridays for Future" march. It is shortly after eleven o'clock. Thousands have already gathered. The stream of people who come to the city does not stop. Organizers later speak of around 15,000 participants. The police are - as usual - more conservative. "There are considerably more than 10,000," says police spokesman Frank Piontek.
Thousands of demonstrators nationwide
The mood is exuberant, almost cheerful. The weather helps. Sunshine and bright blue sky. Wonderful climate, one might think. But that's exactly what the biggest climate strike of the "Fridays for Future" initiative in Bonn is all about. It has brought thousands to their feet not only here, but also nationwide. "Our world is dying," the young man calls out to the crowd from on stage. "And politics is watching." Meanwhile, politicians are sitting in Berlin and putting together a package of measures for more climate protection. A man has just heard on Twitter that the German government wants to increase the commuter allowance (for government workers). "What kind of nonsense is that," he complains.
Some have made themselves comfortable on blankets and are having picnics. Thousands of students with self-painted posters and other objects useful for the demonstration are not only in the park area, but also fanning out into the city to grab a sandwich. Gastronomy is booming. The 25-year-old student Lasse is particularly bold: he is on foot as a globe made of papier-mâché. Numerous parents with strollers or their children at hand have also come. Just like many older people. A group of women holds up a sign that says "Grandma for Future".
Caritas and Diakonie employees participate in demonstration
Doris Bachter and her partner Klaus Sandrock follow the event from a bench. They live in Hamburg and are only visiting Sandrock's old hometown. "We both have grandchildren and like what's happening here," says Bachter. These are some of the ways she observes climate change: "The trees have fewer leaves than before and we can no longer hear bird calls in our back yard.”
Diakonie boss Ulrich Hamacher is nearby. Like his colleague from Caritas, Jean-Pierre Schneider, he allowed employees to take part in the demonstration. He is a little annoyed when a speaker declares that Germany should temporarily rely on nuclear power to put an end to coal. "He simply ignores the problem of final storage," says Hamacher.
Around 150 Bonn companies announce their participation
Employees of many other companies, such as the Deutsche Post, Telekom, the city administration and municipal utilities also mixed with the demonstrators. Co-organizer Luca Samlidis refers to around 150 Bonn companies that have officially declared their participation in the climate strike. "We are literally overwhelmed by the success," says the student in the afternoon, visibly exhausted. Fridays for Future originally expected only half the participants, he says. Now there are twice as many.
As the huge demonstration march sets off in the direction of Poppelsdorf, traffic in the city center comes to a standstill. "At 1:14 p.m., the front of the train arrived at Nussallee, the end was still at the Koblenzer Tor," says Piontek. Overall, police felt all had run smoothly. The 100 or so officers deployed had to regulate traffic and secure the train but the day remained relaxed for them.
SWB spokesman Michael Henseler explains that the demonstration continued to have an effect on buses and trains into the evening. "But the demonstration was announced early on, so our passengers could adjust to it."
More photos and a video can be found here: ga-bonn.de/fridays.
Orig. text: Lisa Inhoffen