NEWS

London Donald Trump Protest Sees Thousands Gather Against 'Sickening' Travel Ban

Owen Jones causes a stir by announcing he won't attend rally organised by a 'cult that covered up a rape'.

04/02/2017 12:56 | Updated 04 February 2017

Thousands of protesters have called on Prime Minister Theresa May to end her “collusion” with Donald Trump and to retract her state visit invitation. 

The protest came after Owen Jones sparked a debate on Twitter by announcing he wouldn’t be attending Saturday’s demonstration due to the involvement of a “cult that covered up a rape”. 

The march - organised by a swathe of groups including the Stop the War Coalition and Stand Up To Racism - began shortly after midday at the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square, before protesters matched to Downing Street.

A petition calling on the government to prevent Trump from making a state visit because it would cause “embarrassment” to the Queen has received more than 1.8 million signatures.

Trump’s ban on seven Muslim-majority countries.was blocked nationwide by a judge on Friday but the White House is set to launch an appeal over the decision which it branded “Outrageous”.

In a video messages played during the really Jeremy Corbyn said: “I support the demand of millions of people in Britain that Donald Trump should not be welcome on a state visit to out country while he continues to propagate his anti-women, anti-muslim, anti-Mexican policies.”

Kevin Courtney, NUT general secretary, told the crowds that Trump’s policies were aimed at “stoking up fear”, the Press Association reported. 

He said that the “fear and division” was evident in schools and told the masses gathered: “I’m here to say that every teacher should be involved in the campaign against Trump.”

“We can fight Trump’s policies, we can fight that division,” Mr Courtney added.

Dawn Butler, MP for Brent Central, told the crowds that May needed to “understand the responsibility” of the UK’s relationship with the US.

She added: “The answer isn’t walls and the answer isn’t bans”.

A statement on the protest event’s Facebook page reads: “Trump’s ban on Muslims must be opposed by all who are against racism and support basic human rights.

“Theresa May’s collusion with Trump must end.”

Lindsay German, convenor of the Stop the War Coalition, told the Guardian’s Damien Gayle that the Muslim travel ban is a “really horrible racist attack, not just on the Muslims from the seven countries directly affected so far, but Muslims as a whole”.

She added: “It is stoking up racism, it won’t defeat terrorism, if anything it will increase the level of it. And I’m sickened by Trump. I think millions of people around the world are sickened by a whole range of his policies... but I was particularly sickened by this one and that’s why we’re here today.” 

Sabby Dhalu, from Stand Up To Racism, told the Evening Standard: “The people traveling to the US from the seven countries they have banned are fleeing terrorism, war and persecution but this is being forgotten in the midst of the racist hysteria that Trump has unleashed.

“The chosen target of attack is Muslims and Mexicans, but tomorrow it will be women, LGBT communities, Jews, trade unions and others.

“We call on everyone who stands against Trump’s politics of hate to join us.”

Today’s march comes after thousands of protesters descended on Whitehall this week to take a stand against the travel ban and follows a Women’s March through the capital on January 23. 

Guardian columnist Owen Jones caused a stir on Twitter on Friday by announcing he wouldn’t be attending the event due to the leading role of the Socialist Workers Party (SWP) which he called a “cult which covered up a rape”. (In a later tweet he promoted a march he would be attending on February 20.)

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