'We will not be silenced': Thousands rally in London against US President's 'Muslim ban'

‘You can stop us entering the country, but you will not silence us,’ says refugee

Siobhan Fenton@SiobhanFenton
Saturday 04 February 2017 19:17
Thousands march in protest over Theresa May's Donald Trump invitation

Protesters have vowed Donald Trump will “not succeed” in spreading anger and hate while joining a 40,000-strong march through London against the President’s travel ban.

His controversial executive order, which has been suspended by a judge's ruling in the US, has been dubbed a “Muslim ban” by critics.

Protesters gathered outside the US Embassy in the capital before marching to 10 Downing Street. Members of the crowd bore placards and shouted slogans in support of refugees and criticising Islamophobia, amid growing concerns extreme-right politics are becoming normalised in the US.

Organisers estimate 40,000 people took part in the march (Jack Taylor/Getty)

The march mirrored scores of others both in the US and around the world, reflecting international outcry at Mr Trump’s executive order. The order, issued last week, stopped refugees from entering the US and also prohibits legal immigration from seven countries, all of which have Muslim-majority populations.

The policy has been criticised as unfairly targeting Muslims. However, President Trump has insisted it is a necessary step to protest US citizens from terrorism.

Arej, a 31-year-old refugee from Libya who was granted asylum in the UK, told The Independent she was attending the rally in solidarity with other refugees who face being affected by the ban. She said: “I have been in the UK for six years now. I’m here to tell Trump that no matter what you’ve decided to do in banning us from the US but you will not succeed in building anger. You can stop us entering the country, but you will not silence us.”

Another protester, Eman, an 18-year-old attending with a group of friends, told The Independent: “I myself am a Sudanese migrant so I know what it’s like when you’re in the country and people aren’t accepting of you. I grew up in a predominantly white area and at school I did get bullied because I wore a hijab from a young age and was a different colour.”

Arriving outside the Prime Minister’s official residence in Downing Street, protesters congregated to hear speeches from leading figures in the Muslim community, as well as politicians and activists who roundly condemned the ban and called on Theresa May to oppose it.

Shouts of “No hate, no fear, Donald Trump not welcome here” and “Theresa May, don’t appease a fascist” rippled through the crowd.

Organisers estimate that more than 40,000 people attended the rally. It follows a number of previous rallies against the recently inaugurated President. On Monday, thousands gathered outside Downing Street to protest the Prime Minister's invite to Mr Trump to make a journey to the UK as an official state visit. A petition calling for MPs to block the state visit has amassed more than a million signatures.

Ms May has insisted the visit will go ahead and has stated that the US is entitled to set its own immigration policy, without UK approval or interference.

The evening before the protest, a judge ordered a temporary halt on the US denying visas to people who are seeking to enter the country legally from affected countries. Mr Trump has hit back at the judge, arguing he will fight the ruling and intends to implement the travel ban regardless.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

View comments