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Schoolgirl Greta Thunberg leads sit-down protest at Davos over climate change

Tom Belger
Finance and policy reporter

Schoolgirl Greta Thunberg leads sit-down protest at Davos. Photo: REUTERS/Arnd Wiegmann

A Swedish schoolgirl led a climate protest outside the summit of global CEOs and politicians at Davos, Switzerland on Friday.

Greta Thunberg sat down on the snow-covered ground outside the World Economic Forum (WEF) event in the Swiss alps, in a demonstration against world leaders’ inaction over climate change.

The teenager has now been on strike from school every Friday for 23 weeks, inspiring a wave of similar protests by young people across the world angered by perceived political failure to tackle the global issue.

Dozens of reporters, photographers, and camera crews surrounded the 16-year-old as she demonstrated while the closing sessions of the summit took place in a nearby conference centre.

Simultaneous demonstrations took place in public squares in other countries, including thousands of students in Berlin, Munich, and Brussels.

Thunberg received global attention when she began her protests outside the Swedish parliament last year.

After travelling to Davos on a 32-hour train and camping nearby — rather than jetting in and enjoying plush hotels with other guests — the teenager gave an eye-catching speech at an event on Thursday.

CNN reports that she launched a scathing attack on business chiefs in the room, telling them, “Some people say that the climate crisis is something that we will have created, but that is not true, because if everyone is guilty then no one is to blame. And someone is to blame.

“Some people, some companies, some decision-makers in particular, have known exactly what priceless values they have been sacrificing to continue making unimaginable amounts of money. And I think many of you here today belong to that group of people.”

Thunberg later tweeted that she had been invited to meet with IMF chief Christine Lagarde and Davos founder Klaus Schwab.