Over 1,000 people gathered at Victoria Park, warming up with chants such as "we are unstoppable, another world is possible" or the concise and energetic “we want action” before speakers took the mic. “Climate justice cannot exist without Indigenous sovereignty,” said 19-year-old Sadie Queen, one of the school strike organizers.
Indigenous rights and sovereignty over environmental issues had a strong presence throughout the protest. "As an Indigenous person, climate change is related with colonialism and capitalism,” said Sophia Sidarous, a speaker from the Metepenagiag First Nation.
Sidarous referenced the path to truth and reconciliation as Canada prepares to observe this new national holiday on September 30. "We will never never reconcile with an oppressive state," Sidarous said, while asking the state of Canada to understand the urge for climate action and for better understanding of Indigenous rights and First Nations' relationship with the land.
"The climate is changing, fast, but if we put the life of many above profit of a few, we can do critical damage control," said Jane Elliott, 15, another organizer of today's protest.
After the speakers in Victoria Park, the march started walking up South Park Street. In an unperfect rectangle, protesters walked down Sackville Street, left on Brunswick, down Duke and right on Hollis for a quick stop at the provincial legislature. After that, they kept going south on Hollis en route to surrounding the Nova Scotia Power headquarters on Lower Water, before heading up Morris Street to end with some closing remarks and a little drumming dance party back at Victoria Park.
Of the hundreds of people gathered today, most of them were teenagers. There were also children accompanied by adults, as well as young adults and elders marching in solidarity. Protesters also saw the solidarity of some car drivers, who were stopped by police controlling traffic as protesters took sidewalks, half the road or the entire road, depending on the street.
There were also many red shirts from volunteers gathering support against the sale of Owls Provincial Park. No politician on a municipal, provincial or federal level made themselves noticed in the crowd.
Both Province House and the headquarters of Nova Scotia Power were clear targets where protesters wanted their voices to be heard. Shouts of “Fuck NS Power” were among the chants that rang out for more than 10 minutes outside the building near the waterfront.
Closing the march back at Victoria Park, 15-year-old organizer Amilia Penney-Crocker left homework to do for the young protesters: “Talk to your parents, grandparents and everyone you know, tell them this is a crisis we have to stop."
The organizers also invited attendees to mark their calendars for another strike on October 22, with details to be announced.
Here's a photo collection of some of the signs in the protest: