Greta Thunberg vows to ‘stay on the streets rather than seek election’

Swedish campaigner says it is more important to put public pressure on politicians

Greta Thunberg speaks to the BBC's Andrew Marr in an interview at London's Natural History Museum. PA
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Greta Thunberg does not plan to run for public office because building pressure from the streets is “more efficient” than working for influence in the corridors of power.

The prospect of standing for election has been raised since Ms Thunberg turned 18 in January, becoming eligible to stand for election in her native Sweden. But she said it was more important to turn the tide of public opinion so that politicians have no choice but to act.

Asked by the BBC’s Andrew Marr whether she planned to enter politics, she said: “I thought of the possibility but no, at least not right now. What’s needed now is a big change in the narrative.

“We need to reach a critical mass with people who are demanding change and right now it’s more efficient to do that on the streets than to do it from inside.”

Pressed by Mr Marr in an interview before the Cop26 summit, Ms Thunberg did not rule out running for office in the distant future.

She said she recognised that elected leaders could only do what was politically feasible, meaning greater public pressure was needed from outside.

“Politicians, as long as they get away with doing something … they will continue, unfortunately,” she said.

Ms Thunberg was mobbed by supporters when she arrived in Glasgow for the Cop26 summit, where she has not been invited to speak officially.

She has previously clashed with world leaders including Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro and former US president Donald Trump.

“Of course, this is not just a question about me but I think many people might be scared that if they invite too many radical young people, then that might make them look bad,” she said.

Updated: October 31, 2021, 11:10 AM