South and East Londoners joined thousands of protesters at Downing Street on Monday night to protest against President Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’ and to lambast Prime Minister Theresa May for her ‘lenient’ response.
The demonstration followed the launch of a petition on Parliament’s petition website, that has so far attracted over one and half million signatures. The petition states that due to well documented ‘misogyny and vulgarity’ the serving US President, Donald John Trump should not be invited to make an official State Visit.
Amongst the speakers was Diane Abbott, MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington, who said: “Donald Trump has only been President for a few days and look what he is doing.
“We need to resist the Islamophobia and the scapegoating of Muslims. We need to resist the hatred of immigrants and people of colour. We need to resist it whether it’s in the United States or whether it’s here in the UK.”
She also hit out at the invitation issued by Theresa May on her recent visit to Washington for the new American President to visit Britain.
“A state visit is meant to be an honour, “ she added.“We should not be honouring Trump’s Islamophobia and hatred of women.”
While the main protests were aimed at President Trump, considerable numbers of the crowd were also voicing their outrage at Theresa May’s reaction to Trump’s immigration announcement.
Owen Jones, Guardian columnist and political commentator who organised the demonstration, had strong words about May when he took to the stage. He said: “Today we say with defiance, with determination, we will not stay silent at injustice, we will stand and make our voices clear.
“Our Prime Minister is weak, weak, weak. She is the stooge of the most despised, most hateful president in the history of the United States in modern times.”
He paid tribute to the demonstrators, and added “We are the people who are prepared to stand up against injustice, bigotry and racism and a government that is now trying to turn us into the 51st state of America.”
The protest, though emotionally charged, progressed in a peaceful manner. Various other speakers including MPs, actors, celebrities and musicians also took to the stage..
Kerry Moscogiuri Campaigns Director at Amnesty International UK, spoke to ELL at the demo, saying, “We are absolutely horrified by Donald Trump’s ban on Muslims from entering the US from seven countries.
“We are really upset and we want to show the world how much we care and how wrong it is.
She said Trump’s actions were unlawful, and added: “Stopping people from coming from specific religious group and specific countries., he’s not allowed to do that under international law.It’s discriminatory.
“We want him to hear how wrong it is and we want Theresa May to ask him to revoke that order now.”
In the wake of the public response to the petition, MP’s must now debate the proposed state visit in Parliament. The debate is scheduled to take place on 20 February.