Tens of thousands have gathered in central London to kick off a day of protest across Britain against US president Donald Trump’s “Muslim ban”.
It comes after a wave of protests against the ban swept across Britain last Monday. They are in response to Trump’s ban on people from seven Muslim majority countries coming to the US.
Salia had come with Friends of Al Aqsa, one of the Muslim organisations supporting the protest.
She told Socialist Worker, “We're standing against Donald Trump's Muslim ban. Our message is, stop using Muslims as scapegoats.
“Why is Theresa May dealing with this tyrant? He's no different to any other tyrant just because he's from the West.”
Another protester, Farrah, said, “I'm English and I'm Muslim. My family come from one of the banned states—Iran. People need to unite against oppression.”
Sayohat from Tajikistan and Zara from Glasgow are students in London. Zara said, “I'm here to show solidarity with people in the US and around world. Trump's ban is the issue but it's about Islamophobia here too."
Sayohat said, “The refugee issue is everyone's problem. They didn't choose for their country to be destroyed and they've suffered more than any of us.”
I've been one of those people who thought it won't make a difference if I go. But I got fed up of feeling useless.Katherine from Coventry
For many people, such as Maria Kashmiri, the demonstration is their first protest.
She said, "I came to a demo for the first time because of racism. We're going back to the dark ages, all the work that's been done is being undone. But if we all stand together we can change things”.
First time protester Matthew said, “I'm a teaching assistant at a school in Leyton and a lot of the kids are Muslim. I just felt I couldn't look them in the eye on Monday if I didn't come.”
Many others have travelled from outside London to join the protest.
Katherine, a student from Coventry said, “I went to the protest in Birmingham on Monday—it was my first protest.
“I've been one of those people who thought it won't make a difference if I go. But I got fed up of feeling useless.
“I can't sit back. I'd encourage anyone who felt like I felt to come out - it can make a difference.”
And Lucy, an American studying in Wales said, “I'm most worried about Trump's rabid nationalism. It's turning into scapegoating minorities and we've seen throughout history where that can lead.
“I'm proud that people have protested all around the world against him. I don't think he'll last the whole four years.”
But she added, “I'm worried that if he goes people will think, that's it we've won. But then we'll have Mike Pence, who hides his bigotry a bit better. We need to get rid of the whole administration.”
The protest was initiated by Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), Stop the War, the Muslim Association of Britain, the People’s Assembly and Muslim Engagement and Development (Mend).
Many more protests are organised in towns and cities such as Manchester, Birmingham and Edinburgh.