Friends joined with others to march against Donald Trump’s state visit
Quakers were among the tens of thousands of demonstrators who flocked to London last week to march against president Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK. In an action organised by the Quaker Socialist Society (QSS) on day two of the visit, Friends joined voices from a wide range of groups, including the Labour and Green Parties, No War on Venezuela and Jewish Voice for Labour.
Meeting at St Martins Place at 11am on 4 June, alongside representatives from Fellowship of Reconciliation, the Quaker ‘bloc’ was among several other ‘blocs’, as they are called in street protest language, that gathered around Trafalgar Square in a sea of placards. These included the chlorinated chicken bloc, the Labour Against Trump bloc and the climate bloc. The Handmaids Against Trump bloc consisted of women in red uniforms based on Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel The Handmaid’s Tale. Friends then went on to join the main Together Against Trump march to Parliament Square.
Quaker Ian Martin told the Friend he protested because he believes ‘[Donald] Trump is a modern fascist who must be opposed’. He said: ‘I met [new and] old friends who were with me forty years ago when we gathered to march with the Anti-Nazi League. I felt a great unity with everyone… some of us with brilliant homemade signs and the world media was there to report us. Trump heard and saw us. Everyone did.’
The MP Catherine West, who delivered the Salter Lecture at Yearly Meeting, also attended the march and tweeted: ‘Looking forward to saying no to wasting public money on a state visit from a leader who denigrates women, brings in bans on Muslim majority countries and denies climate science.’
According to the QSS, people were taking to the streets ‘to show that we reject the misogyny, racism and climate denialism that he is a manifestation of’. Tim Gee, from QSS, told the Friend: ‘We were protesting against what [Donald] Trump and similar politicians represent and their threat to what Quakers hold dear. When Trump met Theresa May at Downing Street, he could hear our voices down the road on Whitehall.’
He added: ‘With far-right and xenophobic ideas increasingly gaining a hold in Britain, “Trumpism” is something we will continue to need to challenge.’
According to Michael Langford, chair of QSS, Friends carrying the QSS banner managed to join demonstrators outside the entrance to Downing Street when the president left his meeting with the prime minister.
There was also an impromptu Meeting for Worship outside St Martins-in-the-Fields.
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