Hundreds of young people gathered in Glasgow’s George Square to protest government inaction over climate change.

Despite the intermittent weather, children as young as four, as well as high school and university students, came out to chant, hold banners and make their voices heard in front of the City Council building yesterday.

The youngsters joined protesters across 60 UK cities taking part in school walkouts organised by a coalition of groups, Youth 4 Climate Strike, the UK Student Climate Network and the UK Youth Climate Coalition.

The strikes were inspired by Swedish teenager, Greta Thunberg, who no longer attends school on Fridays but instead protests outside parliament about climate change.

At 11am around 100 school kids gathered in the Square and Franklin Jacob Babu, 23, a student at Glasgow University, led the crowd in chanting: “hey-hey, ho-ho, fossil fuels have got to go!”.

Shortly after, two large groups arrived holding signs saying “the climate is changing, why aren’t we?” and chanting. The crowd was estimated to reach nearly 500 people.

Kit Paterson, 9, a pupil at Hillhead Primary, said this was not the first protest he had attended but this one was particularly noisy.

“We’re trying to encourage people to stop throwing plastic away which is encouraging climate change, and we’re basically just trying to

change people’s minds about climate change,” he said.

Holly Breathnach, 10, and Leila Erikson, 9, from Shawlands Primary, attended the protest and made posters. Holly said: “When you see in the movies in the future its all technology and everything is happy and stuff, but actually it could just end up like a terribly rocky planet. We expect technology to come and save us but it won’t really.

“There is not other planet to go to after this, it will take millions of years to find somewhere we can live. We have to do something.”

The protest was organised by Megan Rose, 20, an aerospace engineering student at the University of Glasgow, who said she was inspired by all the student protests across Europe. This has been fantastic. Especially I didn’t expect such a good turnout given the weather,” she said.

“If we don’t achieve any change from today then we plan on doing more strikes, definitely.”

Speaking about the aims of the protest, she added: “We want Glasgow City Council and the Government to declare a climate emergency and commit to having zero emissions by 2025. We also want the national curriculum to be reformed to have more focus on climate change and sustainability.”

Many students said their parents and teachers had given them permission to attend, including Maddie Love, 11, from Milngavie Primary, who said she came to the event after her teacher showed her a video of Thunberg speaking.

But some schools were allegedly unhappy about the strike.

Joe Ellis, 16, a pupil at Glasgow Academy, said he emailed the school to say he would be heading to the protest with his sister Evie, 14. “I don’t think the school was that happy with us coming out, but we have to,” he said.

At around 1pm the protest moved towards the City Chambers on the far side of the square. They blocked the road and chanted “we want climate justice”. Police stood in front of the entrance and some staff members came out to watch the crowd.

Glasgow City Council announced this week they would not punish students who skip school to take part in climate protests, as long as they have parental permission.

Eilidh Mitchell-Luker, 14, from Williamwood High School, said: “I feel like the politicians are all sitting around and doing nothing and ignoring everything we have to say.

“Unfortunately we are all too young to vote and this really is the only way [to get politicians attention] and us skipping school they are really going to notice.”

Marina Tattersall, 11, said she came to protest because “the environment is being ruined by people who don’t care”.

She said: “Now it’s [climate change] really happening to some countries and soon it’s going to be our country. The Government’s job is to listen to everyone’s ideas, but they’re not listening to this one.”