YOUNG protesters missed lessons to take to the streets of York demanding action over climate change.

Around 70 young people gathered in St Helen’s Square on Friday for a rally, and also marched around the city centre chanting “Save our future".

The youngsters carried banners saying “Wake up! Time is running out” and “It’s my world too! Look after it!”.

Youth Strike 4 Climate movement organisers said strikes took place in 60 towns and cities.

One of the protestors, Lyra Shires, 17, from York’s Huntington School, said: “It’s just so important. We need to show the government that we care about our future and that we want to make it happen.

“There’s a point we can’t go back and that’s in 12 years.

“We are the future. It’s something that’s definitely happening. You can’t ignore the fact that it’s happening.”

Rosalind Cooper, 16, who also attends Huntington School, added: “I’ve been worried about the environment ever since I was about 10. There’s never been anything like this before in York so I thought I might as well go along and support it.

“I really believe without a safe and healthy environment nothing can be. It needs to be our utmost priority.”

Jena Chen, 16, a student at Ryedale School, said: “I decided to come here as it’s such an important cause. It’s going to affect everyone in the future. I think it’s really important that we try our best to act now before it’s too late.

“Climate change is something that is indisputable. The government and people in charge should be educating people and making sure they are doing everything they can to ensure we have a greener future.”

City of York councillor Jonny Crawshaw backed the cause, saying: “No-one ever takes strike action lightly but if I were 15 or 16 I would have been out marching today to save our climate. Too many politicians have their heads in the sand when it comes to the climate emergency our planet is facing. These young people are rightly speaking up - it is their future that is at stake.”

Meanwhile, pupils at Knavesmire Primary School in York took part in practical activities, including making recycled plastic kites, to support the protests.

Knavesmire headteacher Adam Cooper said: “Our Year 4 and Year 6 pupils are supporting the UK Youth Strike 4 Climate Change by running a whole afternoon of ‘Going Green’ activities, coming up with practical ways to save the planet from recycling to saving energy to help other pupils and parents to make a difference at school and at home”.

Mollie Nichol, a Year 4 pupil at the school, has cut up her family’s household plastic waste to create eco-bricks. She said: “I am worried about how our planet is going to survive and I want other kids like me to do everything they can to make a difference.”

The protests came in the wake of a UN report which warned that limiting global temperature rises to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, beyond which climate impacts become increasingly severe, requires unprecedented action.

That includes cutting global carbon dioxide emissions by almost half within 12 years.

Former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres voiced her support for the strikes, saying the action was “moving”.

However, the strikes were not welcomed by school leaders and Education Secretary Damian Hinds, who said missing class was not the answer.