Banning Refugees is Murder: The UK's Anti-Trump Protest
President Trump’s election sometimes seems like a disturbing nightmare. Though laughable in his personal life and demeanor, he is the most dangerous and erratic man on the planet. At a moments notice the people of the UK stood up and collectively showed their contempt for a man who personally pushed legislation through congress that specifically targets a group of people.
On the 30th of January in nearly every major town and city, from Cornwall to Scotland, the residents of the UK demonstrated and protested against Trump’s impending visit with barely a day’s notice. The largest protest outside Downing Street stretched to Trafalgar Square and the surrounding areas. An estimated crowd of 20,000+ went unhindered by the police, who are notorious for blocking off certain streets to protesters during recent student demonstrations.
The chants heard on the Downing Street protest:
• “No hate, no fear, refugees are welcome here”
• “No human is illegal”
• “Theresa the appeaser”
• “Shame on May”
• “No ban, no wall, no fascist free-for-all”
• “No borders, no nations, fuck deportation”
• “Bridges not walls”
• “Black lives matter”
I managed to speak to some of the protesters to get their reasons for joining a protest to ban Trump from the UK.
Medieval History and Classics student and LGBT+ events planner (University of Reading), Olivia Edwards said, 'as a queer, Jewish student of history, I have studied in depth how politicians like Trump have treated people in the past and I refuse to let it happen again without taking a stand.'
English Literature and International Relations student (University of Reading) Alasdair Heselgrave had this to say, ‘I am Hispanic identifying, I have genuine concern for the wellbeing of my family if Trump and his ideology is allowed to come here.'
I managed to speak in more detail to Alex Boodrookas from California, a PhD student in Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies from New York. Alex was stood just behind me in the barely movable crowd when a gap opened and I saw him stood with his enormous banner that read ‘BANNING REFUGEES IS MURDER’, a strong message. I approached him and asked what his banner meant to him and why he was there.
He said he was 'happy to be involved' in the protest. 'I am from the States and I have a lot of friends that have been directly affected by the travel ban. I am against collective punishment and racism. I wish I could have been at the JFK protest tonight.' He explained that he had just left the archive at University College London after hearing about the protest last minute.
MP's will debate Trump’s planned visit on the 20th of February after a government petition, signed by over 1.6 million people, criticised the decision for Trump to be invited on a State Visit. A counter petition has also been created and has been signed by 114,000 people.
Needless to say the people of the UK have shown how they feel to Number 10.
Words and photos by Bethany Telling