SYDNEY: Thousands of Australian students on Friday protested to demand investment in renewable-energy projects, though COVID-19 restrictions confined the events to small gatherings and online activism.

About 500 protests were held across Australia, with other demonstrations expected worldwide on Friday.

Ambrose Hayes, a 15-year-old climate change activist, displays a banner as he rides on a barge during an event as part of the Fund Our Future Not Gas climate rally in Sydney Harbour, Sydney, Australia, September 25, 2020. Photo: Reuters

In Sydney, gatherings were limited to no more than 20 people, while in Melbourne, which is under a stringent lockdown after a second wave of COVID-19, protests were held online.

Those who could protest in person carried signs and gave voice to their message alongside climate advocates.

“Their future is on the line,” Gillian Reffell, a Sydney resident, told Reuters. “We want to see our governments fund children’s futures, renewable jobs and not gas.”

The demonstrations comes a year after about 30,000 students and other protesters rallied across Australia to demand stronger action to address climate change.

The worldwide student strike movement started in August 2018, when 16-year-old Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg began protesting outside her parliament on school days. She has since been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.

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