THOUSANDS gathered in Manchester’s Albert’s Square for an ‘emergency’ protest on Monday in response to President Donald Trump’s recent ban on Muslims entering the USA.
The protest, organised in just two days by 24-year-old journalist Dean Smith, was part of a series of demonstrations across the UK in response to Trump’s presidency, his relationship with Theresa May and his upcoming official state visit.
Smith, who claims not to be an activist, told the crowd: “I don’t have a politics degree, or a history of doing this, but the fact that I and so many of you are out here tonight shows that we’re reaching a breaking point.”
We now have to make a stand. We have to come out here and show the world we’re better than what he’s letting us become.”
A number of other speakers addressed the crowds throughout the evening, including representatives from The Manchester Palestinian Society, the Muslim Engagement and Development Group (MEND), and the Syrian Support group Rethink: Rebuild.
Although there were some complaints that the PA system was not adequate for the occasion, each speaker was granted a rapturous applause upon finishing; in particular former US soldier Ron Senchak, whose claim that Trump was from “the deep, deep asshole of America” received the loudest cheer of the night.
Ron Senchak addresses the crowd. Video by Tom Sanders
At around 7pm the crowd began to mobilize and set off on a march down Deansgate, successfully managing to shut down all traffic in the area as an estimated 10,000 people took to the streets.
Marching to the beat to a formidable percussion group, chants of “No hate/no fear/refugees are welcome here” and “Trump can’t build a wall/his hands are too small” were sang loudly as the procession made its way through Deansgate before cutting through St. Anne’s Square and circling back to the town hall.
Deidre, 56, from Eccles said: “I haven’t been on a march in over 30 years but I just couldn’t stand by and let this happen without doing something. It feels like society has really turned a corner, and I could never live with myself if I stayed at home and did nothing.”
The response to this has been incredible and really restored my faith in humanity after the past few weeks.”
An additional protest is planned for Saturday, 4th February, with a public meeting for planning further actions scheduled to take place at Gulliver’s, Oldham St, at 6:30pm on 7th February.