Thousands of schoolchildren across Australia skipped classes Friday to attend rallies demanding the government act on climate change.

But Resources Minister Matt Canavan said the students should be in school learning about science and mining, rather than discovering how to get on welfare.

The coordinated rallies Friday were held in close to 30 cities and towns and were inspired by a 15-year-old Swedish girl’s activism.

(Dan Himbrechts/AAP Image via AP)

In Sydney, more than 1,000 children, most in school uniforms, chanted slogans, while similar numbers blocked streets outside the Victoria state parliament in Melbourne.

The rallies were inspired by Greta Thunberg, who protests every Friday outside Sweden’s parliament, demanding leaders do more about climate change.