Tens of thousands march in Brussels demanding climate change action

Protesters filled the streets of central Brussels on Sunday. (Photos: VCG)

Protesters took to the streets of Brussels on Sunday, telling European and Belgian leaders to turn their "promises" to fight climate change into "concrete action."

"Just do what you know you have to do! I mean, everyone knows what has to be done, but it's not been done!" said a 23-year-old woman at the protest.

Another protester, called Lyn, said "I'm a grandmother, a mother and I want my children, my grandchildren, my great-grandchildren and whatever generations in the future, anywhere in the world, to have a future. Because if we don't do anything now, there will not be a future."

Some protesters wore face masks as they marched.

Many of the protestors also carried signs, painted with slogans such as "STOP FOSSIL FUELS" and "THERE'S NO PLANET B!" The hashtag used to promote the march on social media was #TicTac, the French-language equivalent of the ticking-clock phrase "tick-tock".

In just three weeks, world leaders will gather in Glasgow in the UK for COP26 climate change talks. As well as hoping to put pressure on the leaders of the world's biggest carbon emitters, the protesters also had demands for their national government.

A group called Climate Coalition, which helped to organise the march, wants Belgium's government to introduce a "Belgian Green New Deal." The European Union has already introduced the European Green Deal, which, amongst other things, requires the bloc to have "no net emissions of greenhouse gases by 2050."

Sunday's march was also the first major climate protest in Brussels since coronavirus lockdowns and restrictions on large crowds have been eased.

"It's the first one when we can go in the streets and see that we're not alone in all of that and that there are a lot of people that are engaged on this issue," said Marion, a Brussels resident who was attending her first ever climate march.