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The march, part of the global #climatestrike initiative, began in front of Tabaret Hall on Cumberland Street and wound its way through the streets of downtown Ottawa, before culminating on Parliament Hill. The students from Ottawa were joined on the hill by protesters from Gatineau, who crossed the Portage Bridge into the nation’s capital.
The protest, inspired by a Swedish teenager who has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize, is meant to get the attention of government officials, in the hopes of changing the narrative on climate change.
“(We’re here) because we believe in our future and we want (the planet) to be there for our children too,” said Sara Perrier, a law student at uOttawa.
The worldwide marches were planned on social media, with students from hundreds of secondary and post-secondary institutions planning to take part.
Ottawa’s march was planned with the help of the Ottawa Police Service, who enforced rolling road closures as the demonstration made its way toward Wellington Street.
The protesters waved flags and banners, featuring slogans such as “We are the ones we’ve been waiting for”, while chanting “I believe that we will win” and “this is what democracy looks like”.
The peaceful protest appeared to be well-received by the public, with several people lining the streets, and some drivers honking their horns in support of the cause.
The university’s close proximity to Parliament, as well as some of the students’ field of study, made the decision to join in on the protest easier for some.
“I think it’s a good opportunity for us, because a lot of us are law students and we’re near Parliament,” said Alexandre Sauro, a civil law student. “So, as a university, it’s a good opportunity to be that close to your elected (officials) and to show your true colours.”
Much has been said about the global climate crisis, and for Ottawa’s younger population, change needs to happen sooner rather than later.
“We think this is a global issue, it concerns all of us,” said Florence Robert, an international development and globalization student at uOttawa. “So, everyone needs to take action now, before it’s too late.”
“It starts with awareness to the issue, that it’s an actual issue. Stop denying it and start taking action.”