Trump rally in Oban sparks de­bate

The Oban Times - - News -

AN ANTI-TRUMP rally in Oban last week at­tracted both sup­port and crit­i­cism from lo­cal res­i­dents.

The ‘ Ar­gyll against Trump’ rally, de­mand­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump end his ‘Mus­lim travel ban’ and the UK Gov­ern­ment can­cels Mr Trump’s state visit, was held in Stafford Street last Thurs­day.

Around 20 pro­tes­tors gath­ered in the rain, re­spond­ing to a Face­book page posted by Oban res­i­dent Wil­liam Mo­hied­deen, a 30-year-old stu­dent en­gage­ment as­sis­tant for the High­lands and Is­lands Stu­dents’ As­so­ci­a­tion.

Ex­plain­ing his mo­ti­va­tion, Mr Mo­hied­deen wrote: ‘US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump has moved quickly to en­act a vi­o­lent, racist and misog­y­nis­tic course for Gov­ern­ment... and the UK Prime Min­is­ter, Theresa May, is fully be­hind him.

‘This is not or­di­nary times - it’s im­por­tant that around the coun­try, as around the world, peo­ple who share the val­ues of hu­man un­der­stand­ing, friend­ship, care and sol­i­dar­ity ex­press their op­po­si­tion to Trump’s ac­tions.’

On the night, pro­tes­tors were in­vited to speak. Oban coun­cil­lor Kieron Green be­gan: ‘Trump is against ev­ery­thing we stand for in the town. We as a so­ci­ety can­not sup­port him.’

Coun­cil­lor Elaine Robert­son added: ‘This is ab­so­lutely hor­rific. It breeds ha­tred and con­tempt of democ­racy.’

An­other pro­tes­tor, Alas­tair Mac­Gre­gor, said: ‘If Amer­ica calls it­self the leader of the free world, it should look at it­self in the mir­ror and cry.’

Coun­cil­lor Roddy McCuish be­gan by quot­ing an in­scrip­tion on the Statue of Lib­erty, ‘Give me your tired, your poor, your hud­dled masses’, and ar­gued: ‘The cred­i­bil­ity of this coun­try is far more im­por­tant than any trade deal. Some say it will not af­fect any­one in Oban. It af­fects us all.’

The rally drew an an­gry re­ac­tion from a passer-by, who be­gan shouting and swear­ing.

One pro­tes­tor, Mairi Stones, en­gaged the man in con­ver­sa­tion, and said af­ter­wards: ‘He was start­ing to get ag­gres­sive. I do not think it was the way for­ward to meet ag­gres­sion with ag­gres­sion. That guy is scared.’

The rally also drew crit­i­cism on Face­book as ‘fac­tu­ally in­cor­rect’, ‘a to­tal joke’, ‘a wind-up’ and ‘point­less’.

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