Spotlight: Huge crowds swarm streets across U.S. to protest Trump's climate policies

Source: Xinhua| 2017-04-30 07:01:32|Editor: xuxin
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WASHINGTON, April 29 (Xinhua) -- Huge crowds took to the streets in Washington, D.C. and at over 370 sister marches across the United States on Saturday in mass protests against President Donald Trump's climate policies.

The People's Climate March, timed to coincide with the 100th day of the Trump administration, followed a series of presidential executive orders that aimed to loosen restrictions on the fossil fuel industry as well as proposed deep cuts in funding to the country's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other related agencies.

The main event in Washington D.C., started at 10:30 a.m. at Union Square, near the U.S. Capitol.

Nearly a dozen speakers, including a nurse affected by Hurricane Sandy, an indigenous community leader from the Gulf Coast and a student activist from Las Vegas, spoke about the impact that climate change and pollution were already having on their lives, calling for a clean economy that leaves no one behind.

"We come today to say the effects of climate change are real and causes of climate change are clear," one of the speakers, Judith Howell, member and political Organizer of SEIU 32BJ, a labor union, told the crowd.

"Mr. President, it's time to put the health and welfare of our communities before polluters' profits."

At 12:30 p.m., protestors, against the scorching sun, began marching west along the Pennsylvania Avenue, carrying signs as "End the Fossil Fuel Age," "Save the EPA" "Conserve Now or Swim Later," "Thinks of the Polar Bears," "Climate Change = Real Terror," and "Make Earth Green Again."

About one and a half hours later, when the march fully surrounded the White House, some of the protestors sat down for 100 seconds to symbolize the first 100 days of the Trump administration.

Then, they rose and resumed their march to the Washington Monument for music and art.

Ellen Connolly, a software company manager, was one of the marchers under stifling heat as the temperature rose to as high as 32 degrees Celsius.

"I have a seven-month-old granddaughter and I would like to see she has a decent place to live as she grows up," Connolly told Xinhua.

"He (Trump) doesn't really have climate polices as if climate change does not exist. He doesn't care about environment."

Gale Harvey, 78, a physicist who retired from the U.S. space agency NASA's Langley Research Center, echoed similar sentiments, accusing the Trump administration of promoting "a lot of lies" such as downplaying the certainty of climate change science.

"Much of his points he said is outright lies, if not outright lies, (they are) very bad, and destructive distortions of actual truths," Harvey said.

"I'm very, very concerned about the devastating decrease in funding for science agencies and even more concerned about the gag orders that seems to be quietly going out so that the scientists can not publicize their results."

Organizers said the march in the U.S. capital topped 200,000 people at its peak, far outpacing the National Park Service's permitted space for 100,000 people. Meanwhile, there are tens of thousands more taking part at over 370 sister marches across the country.

Sister marches also took place on Saturday across the world including in Japan, the Philippines, New Zealand, Uganda, Kenya, Germany, Greece, United Kingdom, Brazil, Mexico and Costa Rica, the organizers said.

"We're blown away by the numbers," Paul Getsos, the People's Climate Movement National Coordinator, said in a statement.

"We like to say 'to change everything, we need everyone' and everyone is showing up. This movement for climate, jobs and justice will only grow stronger."