(LEAD) Korean students take part in global climate strike
(ATTN: UPDATES with march to presidential office in last three paras, photos)
By Lee Minji
SEOUL, Sept. 27 (Yonhap) -- South Korean students, parents and environmental activists on Friday called for better measures to fight climate change, joining in the global youth movement triggered by Swedish teen activist Greta Thunberg.
The move comes just a few days after global leaders, including South Korean President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump, discussed environmental issues at the United Nations Climate Action Summit held in New York.
Thunberg, who has been leading the "Fridays for Future" movement in which students skip class on Fridays to protest against climate change, urged governments to take more active measures to tackle the climate issue.
"You are failing us. But the young people are starting to understand your betrayal," she said, pledging the young generation will take action for change.
Friday's strike echoed the sentiment, with hundreds of students, from elementary school students to high school seniors, gathering near Seoul's Gwanghwanmun Square despite upcoming mid-term exams.
A group of students displayed a funeral bed in a bid to highlight the urgency of the issue, while some students held handmade signs saying "The earth is sick" and "There's only 30 years left."
"We came here because we know how meaningless it is to study for a future that will not exist ... The government has to acknowledge there is a crisis and hear our warning that there is not much time left," high school freshman Kim Do-hyun said.
Eleven-year-old elementary school student Park Yoon-jeong said she was inspired to take part in the movement after seeing a video of Thunberg's speech.
"Instead of using cars, I'll try to use public transportation. I'll talk to my friends about climate change. If everyone takes part, it will become a big force," she said.
It was the third round of major protests by South Korean students on climate change following similar events in March and May this year. Organizers estimated that around 600 people took part in Friday's event.
Following a session filled with speeches, songs and dances, participants marched to the nearby presidential office holding a placard that read, "South Korea gets a zero for its response to climate change."
President Moon Jae-in noted that "the Sustainable Development Goals of the United Nations and the Paris Agreement on climate change are major tasks that we must achieve through multilateral cooperation," but environmental activists have demanded a more active approach to climate issues.
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