14ymedio, Luz Escobar, Havana, 21 September 2019 — This Friday a group of Cubans, members of the Bike Havana (Bicicletear La Habana) project, met in Martyrs Park at Infanta and San Lazaro in Central Havana to “ask all of society to get involved in the fight against global warming.”
With the slogan “Go by Bike for the Climate” they joined the global initiative #FridaysForFuture, which began in August last year when the young Swedish girl Greta Thunberg began skipping her classes every Friday to fight against climate change.
A young man who participated in the bike tour told 14ymedio that before starting to tour the city, several State Security agents arrived and told them that they could not leave from the place where they were and that they should move to Trillo Park, also in Central Havana.
“This is not the time,” the agents said, nor did they permit private businesses to rent bicycles, as is always the case with the ‘bicycle events’ organized by the project on the first Sunday of each month, the participant said.
On their Facebook page the members of Bicicletear La Habana explained that this Friday they wanted to “raise awareness about the climate crisis that the planet is experiencing and propose the bicycle as an alternative” but that this desire “was misinterpreted by police and State security agents” who ended up blocking the cyclists. “The situation raises many questions for us as to why our authorities and administration do not help us fight against climate change,” they said.
“The good news is that we still pedal in isolated groups, but with the same desire to infect you with that tingle we get when we ride a bicycle through Havana,” they said.
Between September 20 and 27, young people from many countries are mobilized on the streets to demand solutions to the Earth’s climate crisis. More than 1,153 events have been convened across the globe in support of the strike.
For their part, other young Cubans, grouped under the Fridays For Future initiative, wanted to join the global call and requested permission to sit in the Plaza San Francisco de Asís in Old Havana.
Rubén D. Herrera, part of that initiative, explained that after requesting permission from the authorities “in August our wait for an official response has continued to be extended and the day arrived without our receiving any response the result of which was to prevent today’s activities.”
Despite not being able to undertake a collective action, as individuals many of the activists took to the streets with signs asking for support for the planet. With the hashtag #fridaysforfuture many people shared images of their messages on the Facebook plage Fridays For Future.
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