Thou­sands hit the streets of cities across UK in protest

Belfast Telegraph - - NEWS - BY CHRIS­TINE CARRIGAN

TENS of thou­sands of pro­test­ers swarmed the streets of cen­tral Lon­don dur­ing Don­ald Trump’s first visit to the UK as US pres­i­dent.

Or­gan­is­ers of the To­gether Against Trump mass demon­stra­tion claimed they had been told by po­lice that more than 100,000 pro­test­ers had joined the march by mid-after­noon.

Aerial views showed densely packed crowds gath­ered at Port­land Place and fill­ing Ox­ford Street and Re­gent Street ahead of a rally at Trafal­gar Square.

The Met­ro­pol­i­tan Po­lice said it would not give an es­ti­mate of num­bers in at­ten­dance, but MPS Events tweeted that such was the scale of the crowd that stall­hold­ers in Trafal­gar Square had been asked to take down their stands “to max­imise the space avail­able”.

Celebri­ties in­clud­ing Stephen Fry and James Bond ac­tress Sa­man­tha Bond tweeted their sup­port for those marching, while Down­ton Abbey ac­tress Laura Carmichael joined the crowds.

Politi­cians in­clud­ing for­mer deputy prime min­is­ter Sir Nick Clegg and ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband said they would be tak­ing part in the protests.

The day of demon­stra­tions be­gan with a gi­ant blimp car­i­ca­ture of an an­gry baby Trump be­ing flown in Par­lia­ment Square.

While the pres­i­dent did not per­son­ally wit­ness the blimp’s flight, he did say it had made him “feel un­wel­come” in the cap­i­tal.

Pro­test­ers said it was an ac­cu­rate rep­re­sen­ta­tion of his politics, which Mex­i­can Paul Fon­seca (23), of Cam­den, north Lon­don, de­scribed as “so im­ma­ture”.

The To­gether Against Trump march fol­lowed the Women’s March, which used the hash­tag Bring The Noise, ear­lier in the after­noon, dur­ing which pots and pans were bashed and chant­ing erupted from the crowd against a back­drop of drum­ming and cheer­ing. Im­mi­gra­tion, the treat­ment of refugee women, equal rights for women and peo­ple of dif­fer­ent sexes were among the topics raised and or­gan­is­ers of that demon­stra­tion said more than 80,000 peo­ple had turned out.

In Belfast, hun­dreds of peo­ple flocked to City Hall to sig­nal their own op­po­si­tion to the visit.

Ad­dress­ing the crowd, Jen­nie Carl­sten from Ex­act (Ex­pat Ac­tion Group) said: “As an Amer­i­can, I know that most peo­ple here know what it is like to have a gov­ern­ment that doesn’t speak for you, that re­fuses to do what is right, and some­times even re­fuses to turn up and rep­re­sent you.

“More Amer­i­cans didn’t vote for this Pres­i­dent than did, and we should never for­get that.” Stu­dent Tom Prior trav­elled up from the Repub­lic to show his sol­i­dar­ity. He said: “We can­not al­low this man who is vile, full of bigotry, who is a racist and a misog­y­nist to feel wel­come.

“Peo­ple all over the world can­not stand him and we need to take a huge in­ter­na­tional step to en­sur­ing that he is not wel­come, just as he makes peo­ple who are from out­side the United States un­wel­come.”

Sa­man­tha Wool­ley, who brought along her three-year-old son, said: “I have come along to­day be­cause I want to show my son that sex­ism, fas­cism and racism is wrong and that it is not wel­come in the UK.” Lo­cal politi­cians also at­tended the demon­stra­tion to show their sol­i­dar­ity. Al­liance Coun­cil­lor David Ar­mitage said: “I am just ex­er­cis­ing my demo­cratic duty to protest when I see things are wrong.

“In Belfast I have done a lot of work with the Is­lamic com­mu­nity and the Jewish com­mu­nity and other mi­nor­ity groups, so I want to see a more di­verse, multi-cul­tural planet and I see Trump as be­ing against that.”

Belfast Peo­ple Be­fore Profit coun­cil­lor Gerry Carroll said: “The mes­sage goes out to­day that Trump is not wel­come. He is not wel­come in Belfast, Dublin, Cork, Gal­way, any­where in Ire­land, and if he tries to come here he will be met with more protests, and more peo­ple will come out on to the streets.”

AP/MATT DUNHAM

A six me­tre-high car­toon baby blimp of US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump is flown as a protest against his visit, in Par­lia­ment Square in Lon­don

Crowds protest against Don­ald Trump’s visit

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