Thousands descend on Downing Street amid global protests at Donald Trump's travel ban

Theresa May has 'no intention of calling off' Mr Trump's planned visit, a spokesperson said

Siobhan Fenton
Tuesday 31 January 2017 00:44 GMT
Protest outside Downing Street sees tens of thousands demonstrate against Trump's immigration ban

Thousands of people have demonstrated across Britain in protest at US President Donald Trump's immigration ban.

In London, MPs held an emergency debate on Mr Trump's executive order, while Whitehall was turned into a sea of placards as thousands gathered in Downing Street.

The rally took place at the gates of the Prime Minister’s office, where activists bore placards and shouted slogans against the ban.

Mr Trump provoked backlash around the world after signing the order to halt immigration from seven countries with Muslim-majority populations. It also applies to refugees seeking entry to the US.

The ban has been described as Islamophobic by critics, although the President has insisted it is a necessary precaution to protect US citizens from Islamic terrorism.

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told the crowd she had come on behalf of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn.

She said: “Donald Trump has been president for only a few days and look at what he is doing.

Donald Trump has maintained his travel ban is a necessary precaution to stop Islamic terrorism in the US (PA)

”We need to resist the Islamophobia and scapegoating of Muslims, we have got to resist it whether it is in the United States or here in the UK.“

Shadow attorney general Shami Chakrabarti told the event: ”It is in sadness and solidarity that we gather here this evening.

“I also hope, friends, that we stand here in solidarity with all the world's women who the president has insulted and all the desperate refugees that he would spurn.”

Also addressing the crowd, one Muslim refugee said: “America is a beacon of democracy and peace, but Trump's action will tear the fabric of American society.

”We call on all peace-loving individuals to stand firm and oppose all racist and xenophobic action.“

One woman told The Independent: “I had to come out to show this isn’t acceptable. The ban is just really horrifying and prejudiced. I had to come out to show my support and that this isn’t ok and that this isn’t normal.”

Ms May has been accused by critics of failing to do enough to distance herself from Mr Trump’s policies, amid concerns the ban represents the rise of right-wing extremist policies.

Demonstrators holding placards attend a protest outside Downing Street against U.S. President Donald Trump's ban on travel from seven Muslim countries in London (Getty)

A petition calling on MPs to block Mr Trump from making a state visit to the UK later this year amassed more than a million signatures within 24 hours.

However, a spokesperson for Ms May has said Downing Street has no intention to rescind the offer, saying the Prime Minister “looks forward” to receiving Mr Trump later this year.

During the Downing Street rally, the crowd chanted intermittently “Shame on May”.

Following the President’s executive order, a federal judge ordered a stay on the ban, meaning refusal of entry for immigrants and refugees will temporarily stop while a court considers whether it is constitutional. Announcing the stay order, the judge said she was concerned the White House may not have thought the plan through.

Rallies against the travel ban have also taken place in other majority cities in the UK, including Edinburgh and Cambridge, with tens of thousands of people expected to take to the streets across the country.

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