She said: “I think it’s important to strike during the holidays because people were saying that we were on strike because we got to miss school. This shows were are dedicated and willing to give up our free time for this crisis.”
Gillibrand has met Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, and wants to see politicians take more action. “We’re a rich, developed country so we need to be reducing our emissions more quickly,” she said.
In Sheffield, the former Green party leader Natalie Bennett was among the speakers at a city centre rally.
At the end of the London march, a selection of letters were read out by activists at Oxford Circus, including submissions from Yoko Ono, Kate Tempest and Rebecca Solnit.
More than 15,000 students took part in the first Youth Strike 4 Climate event in February, which organisers said was prompted by the alarming inaction of the government. Precise figures for Friday’s turnout were not immediately available – but some found it easier to attend as some schools are already on their Easter break.
Jake Woodier, of the UK Student Climate Network, said: “Thousands upon thousands of young people across the UK have shown their resolve by continuing to demonstrate for climate justice for the third month in a row, while also demanding a Green New Deal for the UK.
“This idea is by the people, for the people and puts people and the planet on an equal footing. The time for action is now.”
The youth climate movement was inspired by the Swedish schoolgirl Greta Thunberg, 16, who has gone on strike every Friday since August 2018. Thunberg is currently in her 34th week of striking outside the Riksdag parliament building in Stockholm.
The latest strikes come after a UN report warned that limiting temperature increases to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels – the point beyond which climate impacts become irreversibly severe – needs new levels of action.
On Thursday, the environmentalist and broadcaster David Attenborough told the IMF spring meeting that humans have at most 20 years to prevent the complete destruction of the environment.
The Norwich South MP Clive Lewis signalled the Labour party’s support for the movement, writing: “The time for incrementalism has passed. The young people striking today recognise this.”
The environment secretary, Michael Gove, has expressed support for the strikes, saying collective action can make a “profound difference”.