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Non-binary teenager spearheading the fight against climate crisis in Belgium sent gruesome rape and death threats

Lily Wakefield November 16, 2020
Anuna De Wever

Belgian climate activist Anuna De Wever speaks at a press conference following the meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel on August 20, 2020 in Berlin, Germany. (Maja Hitij/Getty)

Anuna de Wever, the teenager spearheading the fight against the climate crisis in Belgium, has revealed the rape and death threats they’ve received for literally trying to save the world.

In 2018, when Greta Thunberg began her school strike for climate, the then-17-year-old student was one of the first people to take the school strike international.

On growing the school strike movement in Belgium through social media, de Wever told Vogue: “First there were 3,000 people, then 15,000, then 35,000 and Brussels became this international thing with journalists from all over Europe coming to interview us and understand how it happened.

“I was really inspired by what Greta did, so I decided to scale it up and get as many people as possible involved. For me, that was the most obvious solution – to build a lot of pressure very quickly.”

Just two years later, de Wever is now the leader of the fight against the climate crisis in their country. They regularly join forces with Thunberg, as well as with their counterparts Adélaïde Charlier in France and Luisa Neubauer in Germany.

Anuna De Wever
Belgian climate activist Anuna De Wever takes part in the 13th edition of the student strike action, organized by ‘Youth For Climate’, urging pupils to skip classes to protest against the lack of climate awareness, on April 11, 2019 in Brussels. (KAGHAT/Belga/AFP via Getty)

Anuna de Wever sent death threats.

Despite their success in rallying young Belgians to save the planet, Anuna de Wever, now 19, has revealed the extreme abuse they receive.

They said: “It can be hard. I’ve had a lot of conversations with Greta about how to deal with this.

“I’ve gotten a lot of death threats and a lot of people said they would come and rape me or beat me up.”

Last year, de Wever, who is non-binary, was invited to speak at a Belgian music festival, but a far-right group arrived to target the event. The young activist was heckled by the group, before later being harassed and physically attacked.

They recalled: “I literally heard them yelling, ‘Where’s Anuna, we’re going to kill [them]. We know [they’re] here.’

“As an 18-year-old, that was not fun to hear. It’s hard and it’s unnecessary, but at the end of the day, it’s not affecting what we do.

“I will never stop what I do, Greta will never stop what she does. No activists will, because we know what we’re doing is way more important than those hate comments.”

More: Anuna de Wever, climate crisis, greta thunberg

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