Over a thousand people turned out at speaker’s corner last night to protest the Donald Trump’s immigration ban and show solidarity to refugees and people who have been caught up in this latest Executive Order.
Protesters heard from several speakers including Red Labour, the Green Party, the Nottingham and Nottinghamshire Refugee Forum, the Local Trades Council, Stand Up To Racism and members of the University of Nottingham’s Students’ Union.
The event was organised by gap year student Niamh Shewell-Cooper who promoted the event on Facebook and soon found over 1,000 people clicking attend on the page. It is estimated that between 1,200 and 1,500 people were in attendance.
The event was just one of many across the country with an event also being held in West Bridgford.
One speaker, Nathan Oswin of Red Labour, passionately spoke in front of the applauding crowd. He said: “This world stands in a perilous place, disunity, fear, misunderstanding runs rampant.
“I’m not surprised to see that attitude expressed here in Nottingham – it’s a city of refuge, it’s a city built on diversity, it’s a city built on getting along together.”
This protest comes after President Trump signed an Executive Order on Friday halting the US refugee programme for 120 days, banning all Syrian refugees indefinitely and suspending all nationals from seven predominantly Muslim countries.
“My heart is feeling very bad and under stress. what type of world are we coming to?”
At the event it was announced that out of the 1.6 million people who have signed a petition calling for Trump to be banned, 14,000 of those were from the Nottingham area.
The petition states: “Donald Trump should be allowed to enter the UK in his capacity as head of the US Government, but he should not be invited to make an official State Visit because it would cause embarrassment to Her Majesty the Queen.”
Zahid Chaudhry, 36, who is chairman of UK World Rescue Organisation said: “My heart is feeling very bad and under stress. What type of world are we coming to?
“What is his future plan? If today you are targeting Muslims, tomorrow you will start with Jews then after you start with Christians.
“We need a freer world where people choose what they want, what they want to eat, what they desire.
“If you control people’s lives in this way it is not acceptable in any part of the world, in any society.”
Whilst the vast majority of people protesting were in unanimous disagreement with Trump, there were some there who thought the reaction wasn’t proportionate to the President’s actions.
Joe Bazley, 23, who works in finance, said: “It says democracy is alive and well in the UK. I don’t agree with it but I am thoroughly onside the right to protest and the right to organise and I think that’s a healthy part of a democracy.
“That’s why I came down, to take part, to speak to people with different views.
“I don’t think it’s a blanket ban on Muslims because if it was then he would have banned Indonesia because it has the highest population of Muslims (87% of their 204 million population is Muslim according to Wikipedia) Pakistan, Bangladesh and Saudi Arabia because they’re four of the highest Muslim populated countries.
“It’s Obama’s list (of countries that have since been banned by Trump) it’s not Trump’s list. I think that speaks volumes about this level of disinformation about Donald Trump.
“There’s a precedent for doing this ban, it wasn’t created or dreamt up by Trump, it was the Obama administration.”
In a final rallying call, Labour councillor for Wollaton West Steve Battlemuch said: “We say loudly from Nottingham ‘oppose this ban and oppose any state visit from Donald Trump’.”