Nearly 50 school strikes took place across the country today as a coalition of youth climate change organisations led walkouts, leaving London's Parliament Square in gridlock.
Thousands of young people gathered in Parliament Square between 11am and 2pm, holding signs and chanting messages that called attention to climate change and the environment.
The protest brought traffic to a standstill in Parliament Square, also slowing down traffic in Whitehall and Trafalgar Square, according to Transport for London's Twitter.
Students sat in the road, deviated from the march route, and climbed on statues throughout the strike, the BBC reported.
The strikes were organised by a number of environmental justice organisations, including UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN), the UK Youth Climate coalition and YouthStrike4Climate.
TfL said the Parliament Square demonstration has blocked Whitehall traffic, with vehicles queueing on all approaches to the Square as well as The Strand and Victoria Embankment.
The strikes are part of a practice started by 16-year old Greta Thunberg from Sweden, who the UKSCN cites directly on its website.
Thunberg, who has since spoken at the UN regarding climate change, became famous for starting her own climate strikes in front of the Swedish parliament building in August.
Students around the world have taken inspiration from Thunberg's strikes and started their own, propelled by reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change that the international community only has 12 years to avoid catastrophic climate change.
Anna Taylor, a student with the UKSCN, said that students are striking because they see “a lack of leadership on climate action” and students want to “hold their governments to account on their dismal climate records”.
Among the demands that the UKSCN lists on its website is a proposal to bring the voting age down to 16 in order to incorporate youth views into policy making.
“We’re ready to let politicians know we won’t accept anything less than a commitment to protect the planet for the good of everyone. We have a clear message for Theresa May: do not let the big polluters steal our future,” the student activist added.
A second country-wide strike is planned for 15 March, set to coincide with youth strikes across the world.