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Thousands of Belgian teens skip school for 4th climate march

Published
A young woman holds up a board as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)

BRUSSELS (AP) — Thousands of teenagers in Belgium skipped school for the fourth week in a row Thursday in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate.

Police say the march through Brussels drew at least 12,500 students, and another march in eastern Liege had at least as many protesters as the youth movement spread further across the country. In Leuven, close to Brussels, there were more than 3,000 protesters, including many primary school pupils.

The sustained success of the marches comes despite some school measures to dissuade students who continue to stay away every Thursday. It started with a few thousand four weeks ago and swelled to 35,000 last week.

The protests have kept a focus on climate change as a political pressure point before national and European Union elections, after 70,000 demonstrators held a climate march through Brussels on Sunday.

"They left us a planet in a bad shape so it is our job to change that," said 17-year-old student Manon Wilmart. "But we can do it. We are younger and we know that we can do it. we are in the mood to change the climate, to change everything."

On top of the student march itself, about 3,400 academics also published an open letter in support of the grassroots movement.

Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A woman holds a globe as she plays a trumpet during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman holds up a board as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman holds up a board as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
Thousands of youngsters crowd the streets as they march during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A young woman shouts slogans as she marches with others during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A woman holds a globe as she plays a trumpet during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)
A woman holds a globe as she plays a trumpet during a climate change protest in Brussels, Thursday, Jan. 31, 2019. Thousands of teenagers in Belgium have skipped school for the fourth week in a row in an attempt to push authorities into providing better protection for the world's climate. (AP Photo/Francisco Seco)