Socialist Worker

100,000 join Women's March in London

by Socialist Worker reporters
Issue No. 2537

Part of the huge crowd in Trafalgar Square in central London

Part of the huge crowd in Trafalgar Square in central London (Pic: Ann Crowley)


Tens of thousands of people joined the Women's March from the US embassy in Grosvenor Square to Trafalgar Square in London today, Saturday. They were rejecting Donald Trump and the bigotry he represents and thrives on.

Early estimates by the organisers were that 100,000 had joined it.

It was one of hundreds of marches across the United States and the world inspired by the Women’s March in Washington. Millions of people will take part calling for equality and diversity and a rejection of fear and Trump’s hate.

It is set to be the biggest day of global protest since 2003.

London organisers said the march was for “the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of freedoms threatened by recent political events.

“We unite and stand together for the dignity and equality of all peoples, for the safety and health of our planet and for the strength of our vibrant and diverse communities.”

People spoke to Socialist Worker about the need to take to the streets, refusing to be bullied into silence.

“Waiting in silence for the Democrats to win in four years’ time is a way of silently giving in,” said Khadiee Afflick.

“The fear is, if Trump is president, what does that mean for Britain?”

Amy (left) and Kadiee

Amy (left) and Khadiee (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Amy Wright agreed, “If we wait for four years, that's too late.”

“Things don't change if you're polite and stay at home,” said Marina. She went on to attack Trump's slogan “Make America great again”.

“When was it great? When black people were slaves? When women didn't have the vote? It was never great.

“I'm angry and I refuse to be silent. There can be change but we have to fight for it.”

Sexism

For many protesters it was their first demonstration. School students Grace and Freja were angry about Trump promoting sexism.

Grace said, “We're here to support women's rights because Trump is putting them down.”

Freja said, “You hear what he says and we know what guys our age are like.

“Trump sets a bad example.”

Chiara, another school student, agreed, “If Trump can say these things about women, anyone might feel they can.”

There was a sea of home-made placards taking on all the aspects of Trump's bigotry. Gabriel, said, “I'm from the US, but I'm also half Mexican.

“What we're seeing with Trump isn't just happening there. I've been in Britain for three years and seen the rise of discrimination and scapegoating.

“We have to stand together.”

He added, “A lot of people are angry for good reasons, but the mainstream left hasn't been offering an alternative.

“Trump's promises are empty but without an alternative people can give in to the fear of the other.”

Strikers

It was excellent that around 300 British Airways cabin crew on strike today marched to join the demonstration from the TUC headquarters chanting “low pay no way”.

One told Socialist Worker, “This is how we can raise awareness about our dispute because there seems to be a media blackout.”

Another compared the anger against Trump to her own bosses, saying, “It's about the big and the greedy who think they can get away with anything. It's horrendous, and we've had enough.”

Tamsin: We need to take this spirit to local areas and get involved in politics.

Tamsin: "We need to take this spirit to local areas and get involved in politics." (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Connor had come as part of the Irish Abortion Rights Campaign. He said, “We're fighting to repeal the 8th amendment in Ireland.

“With Trump, we're going to face a lot of human rights issues around women's and LGBT rights now.

“I've got relatives who are migrants in the US who may not be welcome anymore.”

Sophia, a student, said, “I'm a woman and mixed race.

“Trump is the embodiment of oppression, he wants to roll back everything that we've fought for—for so long.

“We've come a long way, Trump wants to go back so we've got to fight to go forward.”

People from many political positions marched alongside each other. Discussions about how to defeat Trump's sexism and racism were going on throughout the demonstration.

Some people equated Trump's election with the vote to leave the European Union (EU) in Britain.

Georgia told Socialist Worker, “I think people voted for Brexit without knowing what it was about.” But, when arguing with someone about the EU's lack of democracy, she conceded, “I'm fine with exiting from the EU, it's the racism that the campaign unleashed that is dangerous.”

Other people emphasised the need to build links between different oppressed groups in society. “There's so many things we need to fight over,” said Labour Party member Tamsin. “Black Lives Matter, the refugee solidarity movement, the women's movement.”

She argued that one march is not enough, however, “We need to take this spirit to local areas and get involved in politics.

“If all of us did that it would make a huge difference. We need to talk to people and win them over.”

Pooja from California joined the march. “I hate crowds but I hate Trump more,” she told Socialist Worker. “A lot of people who are normally quiet are out today.”


Marches were held across Britain. Some 2,000 people joined protests and assemblies in both Manchester and Edinburgh, around 1,400 in Shipley, West Yorkshire, while up to 1,500 marched in Bristol and 200 in Cambridge.

Many more marches and assemblies were held including in Cardiff, Liverpool and Leeds.


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