At the big meeting of the climate youth movement in Lausanne trouble is brewing. That seems to have left its mark on leader Greta Thunberg. Today the 16-year-old had reporting journalists thrown out of the conference hall.
Climate icon Greta Thunberg had the media thrown out of the hall on Friday. The reason: The newspapers reported on the quarrels at the climate summit in Lausanne.
On the last day of the “Smile for Future” climate summit at the University of Lausanne, the mood among the teenagers remains tense. Since Wednesday, when there had been crying fits and violent quarrels at times at the meeting, the activists are under particular observation.
The idol of the movement, Greta Thunberg, knows that too. The friction among the youngsters does not leave the 16-year-old Swede indifferent. On the contrary: On Friday morning her patience snapped. She personally had the journalists present thrown out of the hall.
Frustration over grassroots democracy
The fifth and last day of the conference started with a reassessment. Micael, one of the participants, standing on the stage put his finger in the weak spot of the activists: “There was little structure and it was difficult to agree on anything.”
It would appear that Micael’s complaint resonates with many of the young people present. “Grass-root democracy…” another participant quietly moans. “Once someone says no, you cannot come to any decision.” The frustration over the course of the climate summit is deep among the teenagers.
«They present it as if we had a quarrel»
Then, from the back rows in the hall, a teenager speaks up. It is Greta Thunberg. The climate icon believes the media are to blame for the bad mood. Thunberg therefore advocates excluding the journalists “because they otherwise portray it as if we had a quarrel”.
Only on Wednesday BLICK had reported on the giant spat among the Greta disciples. The headline caused a stir and was also picked up by newspapers abroad. Thunberg was not pleased that the images of exasperated and crying teenagers attracted so much attention. She also rejected the claim in an article by “Buzzfeed” that she had participated in a summit strike.
U-turn after a few minutes
The majority of the 450 participants in the room wave their hands as a sign of approval for Thunberg. All news media have to leave the hall while the journalists are stunned.
BLICK journalist Fabienne Kinzelmann is sitting in the front row as she is being asked to leave the hall. The question of why remains unanswered by Thunberg and her followers. “How should we report on the summit, if we are not allowed to be here?”, Wolfgang Wanner asks, who had traveled to Lausanne as Swiss correspondent for the German television station ARD.
Yet media boycott by the climate teens doesn’t last for long. After a few minutes the journalists are allowed back. When a BLICK journalist asks about the reasons for being thrown out, the summit’s co-organizer Kelmy Martinez (21) says: “We are only human and sometimes we need privacy. As a movement, however, we strive to be as transparent as possible. “