“I call on all students to play truant this Friday and to demonstrate at the provincial house in Haarlem. For the climate and against Tata,” says 17-year-old Haarlemmer Jonathan Hiep.
“I am really worried that I will no longer be able to live safely in the Netherlands,” says Jonathan. That is why he organizes a student protest against the Tata Steel steel factory in Velsen. “I understand that they are not the only cause of the problem, but in the past the government has not listened or listened too little to calls to do something about climate change. That is why we clearly indicate with this protest what we want differently. “
The protest starts Friday afternoon at 1 p.m. and is expected to last a few hours. Jonathan hopes that a few hundred protesters will participate: “If the police allow it.” He wants to revive the student protests. The young Haarlemmer previously campaigned with ‘Fridays For Future’; an action group of pupils and students that was very active before corona. “That kindled the flame in me,” says Jonathan.
“I am really worried that I will soon no longer be able to live safely in the Netherlands”
This action group now wants to reactivate Jonathan. “Not enough has happened yet. It’s about our future, so we have to do something.” Jonathan has hung posters throughout a large part of Haarlem with the call to come to the provincial house on Friday.
“It’s climate week at my school and they still removed my posters there, so I’ve now hung them around the schoolyard,” says Jonathan. He doesn’t think it’s the worst thing that the posters have been removed by the Rudolf Steiner College in Schalkwijk. “They have also invited people from Shell and Tata here at school. They come to tell us what they do for the environment. That is pure greenwashing,” says the student angrily.
Jonathan – armed with a megaphone – already protested this week in the auditorium of his school to voice a dissenting opinion. That felt like a dress rehearsal for the demonstration next Friday. “Maybe I even found it more exciting, because not everyone at school agrees with me.” Nevertheless, the 17-year-old expects to feel some nerves on Friday when he addresses the demonstrators.
In addition to the nerves, he also expects a completely different feeling. “I can still remember my first demonstration. I was thirteen and we walked a protest march from the Malieveld in The Hague. I felt so much strength to do something about climate change. I want to give people this feeling on Friday. I want them ultimately inspire us to play truant from school more often and then protest for our future.”