WASHINGTON - Tens of thousands of people marched Saturday from the US Capitol to the White House to show support for climate-change science and protest President Donald Trump's rollbacks of environmental protections.
The Peoples Climate March took place under stifling, near-record heat and on the 100th day of the billionaire climate skeptic's presidency. He was the target of many signs and banners, mocked and criticized by demonstrators of all ages.
Hollywood megastar Leonardo DiCaprio took part in the rally, walking with a group of Native Americans. "Climate change is real," read a sign he carried.
"Trump is rolling back the regulations, he is talking about pulling out of the Paris agreement(the climate accord signed in 2015), he is trying to raise up oil and coal again, even though they are on their way out, and doing all the opposite things of what's needed," mechanical engineer Robert Siegel told AFP. Siegel, who works on air-cleaning technologies, had come from New York for the march.
Some protest signs put a twist on Trump's famous slogan "Make America Great Again." One said "Make America Cool Again," and another, "Make America Smart Again." Others pointed out the environmental costs of his frequent Florida weekends, adding that his palatial Mar-a-Lago retreat is threatened by rising sea levels.
"We are the majority, even though we are not in power right now. A majority of people agree with this march. It's a powerful minority that is stopping it," said Bill Jenkins, 65. A music teacher from Maryland, he was referring to the fact that Trump won only a minority of the popular vote in the November 8 election.
Other signs and posters called for a greener economy with greater emphasis on renewable energy sources, and warned against the danger of inaction by the Trump administration.
Trump has said, among other things, that climate change was a "hoax," tweeting in November that "the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to make US manufacturing non-competitive."
For Kem Morawski, a retiree living in Maryland, the objective of the march was to show "Congress that there's a lot of people out here -- their constituents -- that are concerned about climate change."
As to Trump, she added, "I am not sure we can reach him."