Protesters hold up signs during a demonstration in front of the White House in Washington, DC on June 1, 2017, objecting to US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from Paris Climate Agreement. (AFP photo)
Hundreds of protesters have gathered in Washington, DC, to demonstrate against US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the US from the landmark 2015 global agreement to fight climate change.
Representatives from environmental groups, climate change activists and trade unions flocked to the White House gates Thursday evening to condemn Trump's announcement on Thursday that he is pulling the US from the Paris Climate Agreement.
"Climate change is a threat to our country," Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez, who attended the protest, said at the rally.
Speaking at a ceremony in the White House Rose Garden on Thursday, Trump said he was withdrawing the US from the Paris Climate Agreement, a move that would have profound effects on the planet and deepen a rift with American allies.
"In order to fulfill my solemn duty to protect America and its citizens, the United States will withdraw from the Paris climate accord," Trump said.
He called the deal unfair to American workers and said it stifled production and imposed burdens on the country.
Trump has taken a hard stance on climate change; at times calling it a hoax by China. He vowed during the election campaign to "cancel" the Paris agreement within 100 days of becoming president on January 20 in order to bolster US oil and coal giant, which bankrolled his campaign.
The Paris Climate Agreement was negotiated by representatives of 195 countries in Paris and went into effect on November 4, 2016.
Protesters march in front of the White House to protest US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Agreement. (AFP photo)
The decision to withdraw will put the United States in league with Nicaragua and Syria as the world's only non-participants in the treaty. The US ranks just behind China in greenhouse gas emissions.
US mayors, governors vow to stick with Paris accord
The US president’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord has drawn angry reactions from inside the United States.
The Democratic governors of the states of California, Washington and New York have vowed to uphold the Paris agreement by forming a new coalition called the US Climate Alliance.
"This is an insane move by this president," California Governor Jerry Brown said, blasting the decision as "deviant behavior from the highest office in the land."
A group of 61 mayors, including the mayors of New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago, said they "will adopt, honor, and uphold the commitments to the goals enshrined in the Paris Agreement."
The White House decision has also sparked widespread criticism from European leaders and beyond.
President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker called the move “seriously wrong.”
Germany, France and Italy issued a joint statement on Thursday to condemn Trump's decision. "We note the United States' decision with regret," the three countries said.
"We are firmly convinced that the agreement cannot be renegotiated," they added, referring to Trump's claim that Washington was open to re-negotiations.

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