Trump Loves Hate

That is what Bristol was shouting yesterday as hundreds gathered in the pouring rain on College Green protesting against Donald Trump’s immigration ban. With a sign in one hand and umbrella in the other, there was a palpable sense of solidarity among those who joined the masses around the world telling America’s new President that his policies of division will not be accepted, “not today.”

My picture from the protest.

As we stood in the bleak drizzle on a Monday night, crowds were surging with chants started by the rally cry of individuals on stage. The poignancy was overwhelming; it was an honour to be a part of an event with thousands of other people from Bristol that supported a global union over hate, discrimination and division.

This protest was about action, not allowing history repeat itself or permitting leaders to treat the public as ignorant, accepting receptacles for inhuman policies.

One speaker who took the microphone was Noha Abou El Magd, crying out: “We must remember that any one of us can be a refugee. Anyone of us could have our lives turned upside down and we could be removed from all safety and security in the blink of an eye and find ourselves at the mercy of others. We have a duty to save refugees. Not because they could be doctors or scientists, but because they are human beings.”

A picture of Noha taken from the protest's Facebook page.

Marvin Rees, mayor of Bristol, gave thanks to the crowd and urged them to publicise their motivations for protesting: “Thank you for making a stand. I hope you are Tweeting it to Trump. The mayors in Boston, the mayors in Seattle…all of those networks in United States that are asking the world to stand with them as they literally try to save their democracy.”

In a post-truth world, this felt more real than ever. Trump’s ban on immigration from seven Muslim states and his dismissal of refugees has catalysed a global movement, deepening hatred among American enemies and sceptics. No longer “the land of the free,” it is becoming more and more a dangerous, revolting territory of propaganda and ‘alternative facts’ that has incited anger amongst all.

With Trump at the wheel, America is driving its power to bully to the innocent and scapegoat the vulnerable. But Britain, equally, has cause for embarrassment. Theresa May appeared to eagerly pay homage to the man dissolving peace between civilized nations. Despite over a million Brits signing a petition to ban his visit, May gave Trump the highest diplomatic honour of an invitation for a full state visit.

 

A picture of the crowd taken from the protest's Facebook page.

Among the crowd were many Bristol students, one of whom was Ellen Jones, a second-year history student. “History has shown that democracy can be ruined by the public’s complicity, so we all need to do our bit to make sure our voices are heard. We do not tolerate racism, bigotry and sexism.”

Hand in hand, both May and the supposed leader of this ‘free world’ are driving us into a new era of democratic, social and political uncertainty. However, what remains certain is that the people Bristol will not be passive. The world has come too far and we want love, not hate.