Australia’s acting prime minister has described Friday’s large-scale climate strike as “just a disruption” that should have been held on a weekend to avoid inconveniencing communities.
Michael McCormack said students would learn more at school than at protests.
Thousands of protesters gathered at more than 100 rallies across Australia on Friday calling for action to guard against climate change.
Similar rallies were planned for cities around the world before a UN climate summit in New York.
McCormack said his government was already taking action to cut Australia’s emissions and boost renewable energy generation.
He is filling in for prime minister Scott Morrison, who is in the United States for a state dinner with President Donald Trump.
Australian demonstrators are calling for their nation, which is the world’s largest exporter of coal and liquid natural gas, to take more drastic action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
The Global Strike 4 Climate said protests will be staged in 110 towns and cities across Australia, with organisers demanding government and business commit to a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2030.
Similar rallies are planned in cities around the globe.