SCHOOL-AGE climate strikers infuriated drivers in Oxford today as they blocked the entrance to the Westgate Centre car park.

Youth Strike for Climate activists who skipped school were joined by parents and other supporters at the first climate demo of the decade in Oxford.

Kicking off at 11am with chants and speeches at Bonn Square, the crowd then marched through the Westgate – to the surprise of many bemused shoppers – to finish outside of the car park off Oxpens Road.

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The campaigners split into two groups – one overlooking the entrance to the car park and holding a giant sign that read ‘Oxford Youth Strike for Climate’, and the second group occupying the entrance to the car park.

Oxford Mail:

While some of the group acted as safety stewards in a 'non-violence and de-escalation team', the strikers distributed fliers to disgruntled drivers and sang chants demanding government action on the climate.

Protester Xanthe Wells, 15, who was accompanied by his mother Jessica Upton, stood at the front of the crowd holding a sign that read ‘Are we the last generation?’.

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He said: “I went to my first strike in February with my brother and a group of friends, and I have been to every single one since then.

“Now I help plan them.”

Oxford Mail:

The 15-year-old said he was inspired by his mum, who is involved with Extinction Rebellion and educated him on climate change.

He added: “We don’t really go for excessive shopping, I’ve always had second and third hand-me-down clothes.

“She has also taught me a lot about recycling.”

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However, drivers trying to get into the Westgate car park did not seem to sympathise with the children’s concerns over the future.

As a queue of more than 10 vehicles built on both sides of the road, security guards from the shopping centre arrived on scene urging protestors to disperse.

Oxford Mail:

Another campaigner EJ, 18, who spoke on behalf of Youth Strike for Climate, said: "This time we wanted to do something smaller but more disruptive that people will notice more."

EJ, who uses the pronoun they, added: “If people are going to get annoyed with us about being disruptive , why are they not getting annoyed with the government for introducing more regulations or with the companies who are polluting our world?

“We are here because we are scared; we are here out of fear, so don’t you dare get angry with us.”

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Pupils also received a surprise visit from Layla Moran who stayed for the first 30 minutes of the rally at Bonn Square.

Talking to the Oxford Mail, the Lib Dem MP for Oxford West and Abingdon said she came to support the cause because it was the first climate action of the decade, so she wanted to make sure campaigners knew they had someone on their side in Parliament.

Ms Moran added: “This isn’t being done so that children can skip school – they are doing this because they feel passionately about the activism and they feel there is an emergency they need to address.”