Tens of thousands of people marched through central London on Tuesday to protest against Donald Trump’s state visit.
People turned out for different reasons—but a central one was Trump’s climate change denial.
Extinction Rebellion activists Sienna and Nesta were on the protest.
“Trump doesn’t acknowledge the planet is dying and he won’t do anything,” Nesta told Socialist Worker.
“And by inviting him to come here our government is accepting this is a valid point of view.”
Sienna added, “We need action. Something needs to change—and quickly.”
She argued that protests can win gains, especially while the Tories are weak.
“If people keep protesting it shows the government that we are not having it,” she said.
“Extinction Rebellion showed that radical action gets results and pushes our message up the agenda. We need more of that kind of thing on all fronts.”
Youth worker RJ travelled up from Portsmouth to join the London protest.
“Trump is a detestable man, but in a way that’s irrelevant—there are a lot of detestable politicians,” he told Socialist Worker.
“My kids were out for the climate strike last week. Trump’s views on the climate make him dangerous.
“We need a revolution to get rid of the Trumps of this world.”
Green MP Caroline Lucas told the crowd, “We will resist his efforts to take a wrecking ball to the Paris climate change agreement.
“We stand with all those fighting for climate justice.”
Other protesters came to resist racism or defend services.
Mary from Leytonstone, east London, described Trump as “obnoxious”. “I can’t stand him,” she told Socialist Worker.
“There are thousands of reasons to march. I’m here because of the threat to the NHS.
“The government has spent millions on policing this visit while the NHS is in crisis.
“It’s a disgrace.”
Small trade union contingents joined the protest.
Reading Trade Union Council brought its banner, and members of the RMT’s Piccadilly and District West branch brought theirs.
And there were CWU and Unite union balloons, and PCS flags and banners.
There was also a group of Liberal Democrats and other visible Remain elements on the protest. Yet these elements were in the minority.
The feeling of resistance must now spread to take on the right in Britain—including Tory Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.
‘We can make a difference’
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was cheered when he spoke to anti-Trump protesters in London on Tuesday.
“We are black, white, disabled, LGBT, part of the wonderful mosaic of diversity,” he said.
“Islamophobia, antisemitism and all forms of racism divide.
“There is a refugee crisis. Can we stop treating people who escape oppression and poverty as enemies?”
“Never forget protest and activism eventually leads to change. Together we can make a big difference.”
Sabby Dhalu from Stand Up To Racism said, “A year ago we saw the Free Tommy demonstration right here.
“That was backed and funded by the Republican right in the US.
“Trump is commander in chief of Islamophobia and racism.”
Roger McKenzie from the Unison union urged the crowd to “stand up and fight” to defend the NHS from the threat of privatisation.
And Izzy, a student climate activist, added, “People are rising up to say enough is enough.”
‘Trade unions have a duty to fight against divisions’
Trade union leaders joined the action against Donald Trump.
Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the PCS union, spoke at the London protest against Trump on Tuesday.
He told the crowd, “Donald Trump is not welcome here in Britain.
“Trade unionists have a special duty to defend migrant workers and to fight tooth and nail against racism, division and xenophobia.
“Trump emboldens the far right.”
And he made clear that one group of workers is not responsible for problems other workers face.
“It is not migrant workers and refugees from other countries that cause problems in Britain,” said Serwotka. “It is the financial elites, corporations and a rotten Tory administration.
“Only by combating fascists and racists in the workplace and on the streets will we be able to then build a more equal society where everyone is welcome.”
TUC general secretary Frances O’Grady called for public services to be protected in any future trade deal with the US.
She said, “With right wing Tories queuing up to become our next prime minister, we need to protect our public services from the threat of a dodgy trade deal with Trump’s America.
“Big pharma corporations can’t wait to get their greedy hands on our NHS, and Trump will back these corporate vultures all the way.
“We must never accept a US-style system where ordinary people are cheated out of healthcare so that super-rich executives can rake in the billions.”
She added, “We shouldn’t roll out the red carpet for a man who deliberately spreads fear and prejudice, who tears families apart and locks children in cages.
“No matter our race, religion or background, we’ll stand together as working people.”
Trump courts Tory leadership hopefuls
Donald Trump spoke to right wing Tory leadership hopeful Boris Johnson during his state visit.
It followed his endorsement of Johnson’s candidacy in the Sun newspaper.
Trump phoned Johnson and offered to meet face to face, but Johnson had to go to a leadership hustings.
But the two reportedly had a “friendly and productive” 20-minute call.
To try and avoid accusations of just talking to his mates, Trump also offered to hold a private meeting with Michael Gove, another Tory leadership candidate.
A “source” close to Gove said, “Mr Gove was asked by Mr Trump’s team if he would be able to meet the president.
“He said yes. Nothing has been fixed yet.”
Trump has repeatedly embarrassed Theresa May by talking up other Tories.
And he held no private meeting with her.
Trump had also said, before arriving in Britain, that he might meet racist Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage.
Vicious US state is a threat to migrants’ rights and the NHS
Trump is throwing his weight behind the nastiest figures in mainstream British politics.
He has endorsed Boris Johnson’s bid for the leadership of the Tory party.
Trump said Johnson has “been a friend of mine”. “He’s been very nice,” he said. “I have a very good relationship with him.”
And he reiterated his approval of Nigel Farage.
“I have a very good relationship with Nigel Farage,” he said. “I may meet with him. We’ll see what happens.”
lWhile Trump is indulged on his right royal holiday, the US state’s war on migrants steams ahead.
News broke over the weekend of appalling conditions in US immigration detention centres.
Inspections by the Department of Homeland Security’s inspector general found shocking conditions at the El Paso Del Norte Processing Centre in Texas.
Some 900 migrants were crammed into the prison, designed to hold just 125 people. One cell with an intended capacity of 35 held 155 people.
Detainees were forced to endure “standing room only conditions” and in some cells people had to stand on toilets to be able to breathe properly.
A report released in May by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists found that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency has been using solitary confinement to punish migrants as a matter of routine.
lOn Sunday the US ambassador to Britain Woody Johnson told the BBC, “I think the entire [British] economy, in a trade deal, all things that are traded would be on the table.”
He made clear that this meant the NHS would be a part of any discussion about trade.
We pay to protect president
The cost of protecting Trump and his entourage—of at least 1,000 people—is estimated to be £40 million. It’s the most expensive security operation in Britain’s history.
Trump was protected by up to 10,000 cops in London. Scotland Yard deployed helicopters, snipers and firearms officers.
Sniffer dogs were on hand to detect explosives or guns.Whitehall and other parts of central London were locked down.
Plans for Trump’s visit to Portsmouth on Wednesday involved marine units from Hampshire police and armed Ministry of Defence police.
A security source said, “The cost of the state visit has ballooned to an estimate in excess of £40 million.”
Trump’s previous visit to Britain in July last year cost an estimated £18 million.
The last major state visit to Britain, by Chinese president Xi, took place in 2015 and cost around £1.1 million.
Royals wine and dine racist
The queen gave Trump a specially-bound first edition of Winston Churchill’s book The Second World War and an EIIR pen set.
His wife Melania got an engraved silver box.
A state banquet in the Palace Ballroom on Monday night included £1,400 a bottle Chateau Lafite Rothschild 1990 wine.
It followed a lunch of salmon, duck and doughnuts earlier in the day.
Trump tweeted, “London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic.
“The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong.”
He went on to denounce any protests as “Fake news.”