Tens of thousands took to the streets around the country this evening to protest against Trump’s vile racist travel ban and Theresa May’s revolting invite to him for an official state visit. More reports as they come in!
Whitehall is standing room only from Trafalgar Square to Parliament. So many people it’s too big even to hear the speakers let alone see them. 30k of us said we were coming on Facebook and it looks like we’ve actually done what we said we would.
So many hand made signs that you have to choose which ones to photograph and the usual left ones are almost invisible in the crowd. The crowd is young and the mood is upbeat and hopeful. One of the favourite chants is taking the piss out of Trump. “Your hands are too small to build the wall!” For this to have been built by the call of one journalist over 36 hours shows social media isn’t just a time suck machine.
Lets hope people take the atmosphere, attitude and sense of possibility back into their daily lives. “We’re smiling because we can win,” as one of the women in the photo said.
Untrump the world! – Colin Revolting
Something really special happened in Edinburgh this evening. It’s hard to be sure about the numbers, but at least 5000 and perhaps 7 or 8000 came on to the streets in solidarity and anger. Well before the advertised start the Mound precinct was almost full. In the end the crowd, diverse, angry and dotted with brilliantly creative placards spilled out in all directions. We marched to the Scottish parliament where the rally continued. For many on the march this was a first experience of being on the streets, in control (the police were often hardly to be seen) and most importantly feeling a collective purpose. This is a great start. The challenge for us all is to turn solidarity into a sustained resistance to racism, Islamophobia and austerity. – Pete C
(Photos: Ruth L)
Around 350 people gathered at the Clock Tower in the centre of Leicester this evening to protest, including many students with handmade signs.
The crowd in front of Caird Hall in the centre of Dundee swelled to over 400 this evening as people gathered to protest Trump’s Muslim ban. We listened to speakers, the majority of whom were women, and then made our way a short distance up the road chanting “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here” and “From Palestine to Mexico, all the walls have got to go”. The majority of protestors seemed to be in their teens and twenties, although there was a broad range of people there, including quite a few kids. All the placards were ones people had made themselves. There wasn’t much visible trade union presence (the Dundee UCU banner and a couple of Unison flags were all I saw), however Carlo Morrelli, a candidate in the current UCU election, spoke about the importance of trade unions in fighting against the kind of bigotry Trump is enacting. The demonstration had been called by student groups including RISE, Green Alliance and Action Palestine, who were keen to open up organising future protests to all who want to oppose Trump. One of the organisers ended the rally with a call to make sure that demonstrations against Trump’s visit to the UK and Scotland were massive – anyone for a round of golf? –Amy G
Well over 2,000 people attended today’s demonstration, called with just 24 hours notice, condemning the racist ‘Muslim Ban’ and Theresa May’s complicity with it. Soon after six o’clock the area in front of the Town Hall was full, and people began spilling onto the street, eventually forcing the police to close the main road through the centre of the city, making it probably Sheffield’s biggest demonstration since the Gulf War.
Speakers, including a number of refugee’s as well as the likes of Natalie Bennett and local councillors spoke up for the city’s proud history of welcoming asylum seekers over the decades, and on how May’s policies – from when she was Home Secretary as well as as PM – also made use of far right rhetoric, almost as blatantly as Trump.
Speakers called for another demonstration on Saturday, as well as for people to make sure the anti-Trump demo in June (if the state visit goes ahead) is as big as possible. More immediately, there was also a call to pressure the BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire show to show the Sheffield made film ‘Asylum Markets’ to be shown, after it was withdrawn following pressure from G4S. – Rich B
(Photos: Bunny L)
“You going to the trump demo?” asked one of three security guards outside the Poundland on the way to the Victoria square protest – a new measure taken since the last time I came home to Birmingham.
“Give him hell from me yeah?”
Turning the corner towards what was once Paradise Circus, a wall of cheers and ancillary chants combined with the earnest fuzz of the megaphone wielding speaker, leaving no doubt that this module of anti-Trump day of protest was a success.
Speakers ranged from university student union members, to representives of faith groups, to slam poets and spoken word artists. The crowd were equally diverse; I was eventually wedged between a young boy (standing on one of the squares iconic concrete spheres) and an elderly man engaged in exuberant conversation with two girls from a local high school. It was truly a representative slice of the population, displaying the gravity of the issue at hand, and something rare to see in any demonstration. The speakers I heard (though not especially well, thanks to the crowd easily exceeding two thousand people and the underwhelming PA system) spoke mostly of solidarity and pride in willingness to speak out against repeating the mistakes of the past. References to class struggle were brief but appreciated by many; a representative from the National Union of Teachers said “there is a retelling of history filled with kings and queens and wealth, that’s the version Donald Trump wants to hear. But there’s another retelling, that of ordinary people living and fighting to be heard. That’s what we’re here for.” Other speakers made reference to their experience in Calais, foregrounding the ongoing crisis that Europe is ignoring while Trump is targeted for similar egregious acts. The organisers finished by calling for more grassroots organisation and for attendance at other rallies both in Birmingham on Saturday 4 February and in London later in the year. A jubilant crowd dispersed, with conversation of future placards and megaphones floating down from the steps of the council building, mixing with shoppers and bystanders below. – Jozef D
Thousands took to the streets in Manchester in a huge, young and diverse demonstration. It was good to see many Muslims back on the streets. People are making lots of connections between Trump, racism and nationalism in the UK, May, the treatment of refugees and migrants. An inspiring movement has emerged. Where will it go? – Ian A
Thousands joined a protest and impromptu march in Brighton tonight. By 6pm the main town hall square was so packed that the police tried to prevent more people from joining. Speakers from Labour and the Greens were heard, with the biggest boos reserved for Teresa May’s complicity with Trump. But police efforts to control the march failed, as the real inspiration of the night came from the mostly young people. Armed with witty and self-made placards, they dominated the protest with raucous pro-muslim and pro-migrant chanting against racism and borders. This was the biggest march in Brighton for a number of years and it was filled with a tangible rage against injustice. – Stacey W
Around 3,000 people came out in Bristol for an event organised in less than 24 hours by two individuals. It opened with the Mayor Marvin Rees speaking about the need to support sanctuary cities. A statement of support was sent by Thangam Debbonaire, MP for Bristol West, the constituency with the highest percentage signing the petition to ban Trump’s state visit. The crowd was addressed by representatives from the NUS, Bristol Muslim Cultural Society, university Islamic Societies and Bristol Refugee Rights alongside a powerful reading of Hollie McNish’s anti-racist poem ‘Mathematics’ and a song by a local artist about the lies peddled by the Murdoch press. As well as chants of ‘Black Lives Matter’ the loudest and longest refrain of the night was a resounding ‘Fuck Donald Trump!’. The huge protest will be followed by another on Saturday afternoon and events organised by One Day Without Us highlighting the essential contributions of migrants. – Rob
St Andrews today saw the biggest demonstration that anyone on it could remember. Called at short notice by the student Socialist Society, the assembly and march involved up to 500 people altogether and was very young, very female, and very lively – full of home-made placards and bursting with energy, wit and defiance. The UCU branch are discussing calling an International Womens’ Day event as one of the follow-up actions – Mike A
The best estimate I’ve heard for Oxford’s anti-Trump protest is 2500 people crammed into one end of Cornmarket, blocking the street completely. The crowd was beginning to get big even before the start time. Lots of chanting, both anti-Trump and anti-May, pro-refugee and generally anti-racist. We listened to speakers. then had a march down the High Street, over Magdalen Bridge, to the Plain and back again. There was a buzz that was extraordinary, simply because there were so many people.
The protest was organised in just 24 hours. It was called, by just two people, on Sunday at 5pm for Monday at 5:30pm. And the response went beyond the organisers’ wildest dreams. – John W
In Cardiff, around 2000 people poured into the city centre to protest against May and Trump in one of the biggest demonstrations the city has seen in decades. The crowd was young, multi racial and angry. Chants of “refugees are welcome here” and “Donald Trump has got to go” filled the air. The rally bulged in size and turned into a spontaneous march down the High St. The speakers were often drowned out by noise, but former councillor Ali Ahmed addressed the crowd to huge cheers when he said “Donald Trump is not welcome in this country!”, and he urged people to attend an anti-racist demonstration in the city on 18 March. Two women, Michelle and Suzanne, had come down from Bridgend. Michelle had printed off a sheet of A4 saying No Trump! No Ban! No State Visit! and stuffed it into a plastic wallet. Suzanne said “did you hear what she said!? One and a half million signed the petition and she [May] said ‘we don’t care it’s just the populists.’ Well who votes them in!? It’s, us the populists!” – Seb C
1500 people took to the streets in York to demonstrate against Trump’s travel ban and UK complicity . There were speakers at the rally from York People’s Assembly, York Against the War, The University of York and the local MP Rachel Maskell. All speakers emphasised the need to stand up for unity against the tide of division and hate. There was also a call to attend an open day at the newly refurbished York Mosque. There was then a spontaneous march around city before protestors returned to St Helen’s Square. – Vince M