In early December of 2019, hundreds of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Madrid, Spain as the Spanish city hosted climate negotiations for the UN. The Climate Change Conference, COP25, was originally scheduled to take place in Santiago, Chile, but was moved to Madrid as a result of the massive protests taking place in Chile. Protestors in Madrid, along with thousands of Chileans in Santiago, called for more ambitious climate change policy to be put into place worldwide.
Greta Thunberg was, of course, in attendance. A concert was also held near to Nuevos Ministerios, a government complex in the city center that added to the festive air and harnessed the power of music to our cause. Organizers say around 500,000 people took part in the demonstrations. Officials did not provide a figure.
Previously in 2019, strikes had been organized in a variety of countries from Africa to South America. The epi-center was Europe. Mass strikes took place on 17 and 18 January 2019, when at least 45000 students protested against insufficient action against climate change in Switzerland and Germany alone. In Germany, regional groups were organized, communicating autonomously within WhatsApp groups and spreading their messages using flyers and social media. By February 2019, the organization could count on some 155 local groups.
The Belgian environment minister for Flanders, Joke Schauvliege was forced to resign on 5 February 2019 for falsely claiming the state security agency had evidence that the school strikes in Belgium were a "set‑up". In the UK, on 13 February 2019, following open letters in support of Extinction Rebellion in 2018, 224 academics signed an open letter giving their "full support to the students" attending the School Strike for Climate action. On Friday 15 February, more than 60 actions in towns and cities within the United Kingdom took place, with an estimated 15000 strikers participating.