Parents have been warned that a climate change protest being attended by campaigner Greta Thunberg has grown so large it could be unsafe for their children
Avon and Somerset Police expect thousands of people to attend the Bristol Youth Strike 4 Climate, starting at the city’s College Green, on Friday to hear the 17-year-old climate activist speak.
The force said there was potential for protesters to be hurt from either tripping, falling or being crushed by the crowds.
With many children expected to skip school, police have said “parents are responsible for their children”.
Attendees are also being advised to make their own safety arrangements.
Swedish climate change campaigner Thunberg is due to address the event before protesters march around the city centre to highlight the danger to the planet from climate change.
A similar protest last year attracted 15,000, organisers said, and it is believed there could be more as people want to see the teenager speak.
Greta had originally intended to visit London, but as the area planned for the protest in the capital was too small the organisers had recommended Bristol instead.
Police and Bristol City Council have warned of “major disruption” due to the event and said people from across the UK were planning on attending.
In a joint statement, Mike Jackson, the council executive director, Bristol police commander Superintendent Andy Bennett said: “We have seen a number of protests over the last year however this one will be significantly larger so we want to ensure that anyone planning to attend is prepared and able to make their own safety and safeguarding arrangements.
“Parents are responsible for their children. The council and police are not responsible for unsupervised children.
“Bristol City Council and the Avon and Somerset Police are unable to accurately predict how large this event will be however we have confirmation of people travelling from across the UK to attend.
They said that some roads would be closed by the council in order to reduce the risk of harm to motorists, pedestrians and protesters - warning people “not to underestimate the scale” of the protest.
“In terms of big crowds, there is the potential for trips, slips, falls and crushing. People can easily be separated from their friends and family,” they continued.
Two years ago, Greta started missing lessons most Fridays to protest outside the Swedish parliament building, in what turned out to be the beginning of a huge environmental movement.
She has become a leading voice for action on climate change, inspiring millions of students to join protests around the world.