Thousands of self-styled “climate truants” have marched through the political heart of Europe to demand the Belgian government and European Union take climate action seriously.

Estimates put the number of young people involved at 12,500 with the march taking almost an hour to pass the EEB offices in the European District.

Trains into Brussels were packed this morning with ‘climate strikers’ ditching school to join the growing international movement that is demanding governments act to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Workers along the route cheered as the march passed through the usually car-filled streets between the European Commission and Belgian federal parliament.

In December more than 75,000 people marched in the Belgian capital in what was the country’s biggest ever climate march but today’s protest was just for school-aged students that were skipping class to join the action.

The ‘school strike’ movement came to global fame after teenager Greta Thunberg, who had been involved in a protest in front of the Swedish Parliament, spoke to the UN’s global climate conference in Poland last year.

Climate scientists working for the UN have concluded that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5°C is still possible, but unprecedented action will be required.