Anti-Donald Trump protestors have gathered in south London to protest the US president’s state visit to London, claiming the pomp and ceremony helps to give credibility to his “racist, sexist and misogynist” views.
Some fifty Brixton Against Trump supporters congregated in Windrush Square, in Brixton to make banners and placards ahead of a mass demonstration taking place in central London on Tuesday.
The rally at the square, which takes its name from the ship that brought hundreds of Commonwealth migrants to help rebuild the UK after the Second World War, was organised by activist groups Stand Up To Racism and Together Against Trump, and the contempt for the president’s divisive rhetoric was evident in speeches from protestors.
One woman said that she felt compelled to demonstrate against the visit given that she’s mixed raced, bisexual and a woman, which represent “things that Trump doesn’t like”.
As people gathered, and some cheered on in support, Rahel Patel of Stand Up To Racism told HuffPost UK: “The state visit shouldn’t be happening.
“Trump should not be welcomed here - the majority of people in the UK don’t want him. He’s only here because the British government is in crisis and they think that, somehow, he can be used to alleviate the problems that they have put themselves in.
“We’re in Windrush Square. The context of Brixton is that this area, like other great chunks of the UK, have been built on migration. Britain has always been a country of migration and in the most recent past - people have come from Ireland, there’s the Jewish migration, the black and Asian migration - now we have the Latino communities and people from all over the world play a crucial in the heart and the beat of the workings of the UK.”
“Any politician, whether it’s Trump or Farage, who tries to use migration as a race card will be facing up to the majority. The national press have not been vigorous enough in challenging their bigotry, racism and sexism. And, so, the majority need to speak out: we believe we are the majority,” Patel continued, adding that Trump’s harsh words against London Mayor Sadiq Khan was a further bone of contention.
“Today he fired off a salvo against our Muslim Mayor of London, decided by the majority - we are a multicultural city and he’s opposed to that.”
Eamonn McGuire, a representative of Unison, the largest trade union in the UK, told HuffPost UK: “Trump’s presence here, and just about everywhere he goes, encourages racists and misogynists - and things are already quite bad enough. Today is about getting out there and making sure that people understand that there’s a lot of opposition to this [visit] - perfectly ordinary people, like you and me.
“The last Trump rally was one of the best such occasions that I’ve ever been on; fantastic, banners all over the place, a real carnival atmosphere with everyone chatting to each other because we’re all united in believing in the same core values.”
Jess Walsh, a teacher at a primary school in south-east London who helped to arrange the demonstration, outlined her concerns over what Trump’s visit means for the British public - and future generations.
“I’m really worried about the rise of racism in this country. Islamophobia, racist attitudes towards migrants that are springing up more and more, alarmingly, everywhere. I can see it reflected in society through my teaching,” she said.
“I think Trump coming to this country gives confidence to racists like Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson, he gives confidence to a whole layer of society that we don’t want to give confidence to - we want to push them back as far as we can,” she added.
“Trump is a racist, misogynist, climate denier and he’s not welcome in the UK, as far as I’m concerned.”
Brian Richardson added: “I don’t really care about Trump meeting the Queen or Theresa May who’s a dead person walking as a prime minister. But the sense of respectability that this state visit gives him really concerns me.
“This is a man who has encouraged racist, sexist, misogynist, homophobes around the world - I would argue that he’s the world’s racist-in-chief who has emboldened the likes of the Ku Klux Klan and, in this country, far-right and fascist organisations. And I think it legitimises him and them to roll out the red carpet.”
Together Against Trump said: “Donald Trump is a proven racist and misogynist who has denied the existence of climate change.
“He also gives encouragement to the forces of the far right across the globe, no more so than here in the UK. We say Donald Trump is not welcome here.”