Safety fears have been raised as thousands of children prepare to attend a mass protest today featuring Greta Thunberg.
Parents have been warned to be vigilant at the Bristol demo attended by the 17-year-old climate activist – who is set to visit a 50ft high mural of herself – amid concerns that the city will be brought to a standstill.
The local council and police said the sheer size of the protest meant safety measures ‘may not be adequate, especially for primary school children’.
Greta Thunberg, 17, (pictured meeting Malala Yousafzai, 22, at Oxford University on Tuesday) is set to speak to 15,000 activists and lead them on a march through Bristol during a Youth Strike 4 Climate event on Friday
They warned anyone in charge of youngsters to be ‘responsible’ and to beware of the risk of falls and crushing.
Around 15,000 activists from around the country are expected to descend on the city for the Youth Strike 4 Climate event.
The Swedish teenager is due to address crowds before leading them on a march through the city centre. Two schools have said they will be closed due to disruption caused by the protest.
In a joint statement, Bristol City Council and Avon and Somerset Police warned: ‘Do not underestimate the scale of this protest.’
The climate change activist will also visit a 50ft high mural (seen on the side of an old factory building) of herself which was painted by local artist Jody Thomas
They said a lack of information from organisers had made it difficult to prepare for the demo and it was unclear how widespread disruption would be.
Many roads in the city centre will be closed from 9am to 4.30pm and residents have been urged to avoid unnecessary travel. Bristol City Council executive director Mike Jackson and Superintendent Andy Bennett of Bristol Police said: ‘There will be major disruption to the city.
‘Parents are responsible for their children. The council and police are not responsible for unsupervised children. In terms of big crowds, there is the potential for trips, slips, falls and crushing.
‘People can easily be separated from their friends and family. Mobile phone signals can be intermittent due to saturation on the communications masts.’
But the demo’s organisers responded by accusing the police of ‘patronising’ them.
Two schools, Cathedral Choir and Cathedral Primary, have said they will be closed due to disruption caused by the protest (Greta is pictured addressing the crowd during a Fridays for Future protest in Hamburg, Germany, last week)