Socialist Worker

40,000 march in London against Trump and May, and thousands more around Britain

by Socialist Worker reporters
Issue No. 2539

The march assembled outside the US embassy

The march assembled outside the US embassy (Pic: Dean Ryan)


In London 40,000 people marched today, Saturday, against Donald Trump’s Muslim ban, his attacks on migrants, women and others—and Theresa May’s support for Trump.

At the same time thousands of people marched elsewhere in Britain.

The movement against Trump that exploded on to the streets with the Women’s March and continued on Monday’s protests is growing.

It is full of new activists who are determined to do much more than make token gestures. They want to make a difference.

In London the demonstration was called by Stand Up to Racism, Stop the War Coalition, the People’s Assembly, the Muslim Association of Britain and Muslim Engagement & Development. It was supported byFriends of Al Aqsa andthe Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament.

It brought central London to a standstill.

Students were a lively part of the demonstration

Students were a lively part of the demonstration (Pic: Socialist Worker)


There were first-time marchers, long-term activists, students, Muslim groups, trade unionists and many others.

Enough

Chants of “Say it loud, say it clear, refugees are welcome here," rang out from a lively Stand Up To Racism student bloc.

Kristina had come from the University of Surrey after hearing about it on Facebook “Now is more important than ever, things just keep escalating,” she said. “We have to say enough is enough.”

A large number of Muslims also turned out for the demonstration, including an entire weekend Arabic school from Waltham Forest in north east London. Sayed, one of the adults, said, “We wanted to teach them what they could do to stop this racist agenda.

He added, “It's important they know that we as Muslims, Jews, Christians and socialists are united against Donald Trump.”

Homerton University Hospital workers came with their union banner

Homerton University Hospital workers came with their union banner (Pic: Socialist Worker)


Passport

A delegation came from Homerton University Hospital in east London. Lorna said, "Unions have to be part of the resistance to Trump, especially in the context of the threats to bring passport checks into the NHS."

Speakers at the rally reflected solidarity with Muslims and migrants and a thirst for active unity.

Weyman Bennett from Stand Up To Racism said, “If Donald Trump comes to this country we're going to kick his arse. Black and white, gay and straight, women and men, we're going to kick his arse.

“Bankers, not immigrants, caused this crisis. They want to divide us but we won't let them. When we organise, we can defeat tyrants.”

Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition said, “This is only the beginning. If Theresa May dares to go ahead with the state visit we will bring London to a standstill. We're saying to the Muslim communities, ‘You are not alone.’

“This is the beginning of a mass movement against Trump's presidency and Theresa May's rotten politics.”

Azad Ali from Muslim Engagement & Development said, “We have to be united, this is not a time for petty squabbles. Our collective action makes a difference. We have a long battle ahead.

“When I was a young boy, I couldn't go to the sweet shop because there were fascists in the streets. You know who stood up? You all stood up.”

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was in Liverpool, but sent a message via a link-up to the demonstration. He said, “I send solidarity to those under attack from the politics of hate. I support the demand of millions of people in Britain who say Donald Trump is not welcome. Trump's invite should be withdrawn.

“I stand in solidarity with our friends across the US standing with migrant communities. Theresa May and the conservatives are on the wrong side of history.”

 

Around Britain

At the same time as the London protest, up to 3,000 protested in Manchester.

Zoe, a student and retail worker, said, “I'm here to show solidarity and protest Trump's Muslim ban and everything he's doing to divide people. We have to keep the pressure on Theresa May and unite people more."

Manchester: 3,000 protested

Manchester: 3,000 protested


Janet, a student from Wigan, said, “If we don't say or do anything history has a way of repeating itself. Eleven years ago my family came to England as refuges from South Sudan if England hadn't let us in I don't know what would have happened.”

Around 2,000 people marched through Bristol. Ferdinand, a Mexican student, said we need to cleanse the streets of hatred and misogyny. Anne Lemon, a member of the NUT national executive, denounced Trump's measures to loosen controls on Wall Street and allow business a free rein. She said, “Teresa May wants to mirror those attacks and invite American companies in to tear apart our NHS and state education.”

Over 500 gathered in Leeds

Over 500 gathered in Leeds (Pic: Neil Terry)


Around 1,500 rallied in Sheffield and 500 in Birmingham. In Sheffield it was the third mass protest in two weeks. There was a big turnout from the Yemeni community following the protests and strike in New York.

Young Asian women - confident and proud and not prepared to be intimidated - led a chant of "Racist walls have got to go, from Palestine to Mexico".

In Leeds around 500 people marched chanting “Dump Trump” and “No Muslim ban”. Speakers before and after the march told the crowd that the massive protests we have seen in the past couple of weeks around the world have to be just the beginning of the opposition to Trump's racist and misogynist policies.

Protesters also marched in Edinburgh.

In Barnsley anti-Trump protesters gathered in the town centre. Brian Steele, Barnsley Unison branch secretary, condemned Trump as a racist bigot who wants to divide us. Janet from Barnsley Save Our NHS talked about Trump wanting to open up the NHS to American private companies.

The rally finished with chants of “No hate, no fear - Trump's not welcome here”.

There was also a protest in Scarborough, including people who hadn’t protested for years. The mood was really positive, buoyed by a bunch of secondary school students who took the megaphone to shout “All for one, one for all - we don’t want your stupid wall!”

Scarborough: united against racism

Scarborough: united against racism (Pic: John Atkinson)


After the London demonstration around 250 trade unionists gathered to discuss how to root the movement in the workplaces at a conference organised by Stand Up To Racism. Most of them had come straight from the protest against Trump.

Bfawu bakers’ union president Ronnie Draper opened with a speech taking on the myths about immigration.

“’Migration drives down wages’—it's something I hear all the time in the food industry,” he said. “Rubbish! No migrant has ever driven down wages in this country. It's the employers, and the government that supports them.”

Susan Matthews, chair of the Unite union’s BME workers' committee, said trade unionists could play an important role in standing up to the right.

“As we face a strong wind coming at us we have to develop a firm foundation for how we can resist. There is a strong tradition in trade unions of standing together for all, arm in arm.

“While they are building borders and walls we will stand up for what we believe in, which is unity for all.”

 

Get involved with the growing movement!

Monday 6 February: Student Stand Up To Trump organising meeting. 6pm. UCL London https://www.facebook.com/events/284434211971916/

Saturday 18 February: Stand Up To Trump national organising summit https://www.facebook.com/events/1632531893710375/ Called by Stop the War Coalition, Stand Up To Racism, The People's Assembly, Muslim Association of Britain, Unite the Union and the Communication Workers Union.

Monday 20 February: Stand Up to Trump. Lobby as MPs discuss the petition against Trump’s state visit. https://www.facebook.com/events/1813119415594229/ Other events throughout Britain and also others organised by One Day Without Us, Alliance for Free Movement and others.

Saturday 18 March: National demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff called by Stand Up To Racism on UN anti-racism day. https://www.facebook.com/events/1092335410814754/

Thanks for reports to Laura Miles, George Arthur, Kathy Clarke, Pete McGahan, Sarah from Manchester, Bridget Parsons, Trevor Goodfield and others

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