Photos: The London Protest Against Donald Trump’s UK Visit, July 13, 2018

14.7.18

Some of my photos from the protest in London against Donald Trump's UK visit on July 13, 2018.Please check out my photo set on Flickr!

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So yesterday a huge protest against Donald Trump, on his first visit to the UK since he became the US president 18 months ago, took place in London. The organisers estimated that almost 250,000 people had turned up, and I was delighted to see so many witty handmade placards, and so many young people showing up to tell Trump that he is not welcome here. Much of the focus, of course, was on his position as the world’s most powerful sexual predator, but there were also numerous placards taking aim at his recent and thoroughly disgraceful immigration clampdown, when he separated children from their parents and imprisoned them.

I was, of course, delighted to see large numbers of people — and particularly women and girls — protesting against Trump, but from the beginning of his presidency, when a visit was first planned, and then called off because of the anticipated scale of protests against him, I have made a point of stating that, while I understand the particular horror of Trump’s role as a sexual predator and people’s opposition to him on that basis, on everything else we should be out on the streets every day protesting against the vile Theresa May and her vile government. In her six years as home secretary, May was persistently racist, xenophobic and Islamophobic, and, of course, was behind the “hostile environment” for immigrants that led to people who were part of the post-war Windrush generation form the Caribbean being forcibly sent back to their countries of origin, despite having lived in the UK for decades.

That said, it is clear that the sheer size of yesterday’s protest ought to give us hope for the future, as it represented, in many ways, a coming together of the many, many different groups of people affected by Donald Trump and what he represents, and if we can do this for Trump then perhaps we can do it again once he’s gone home, and we’re still stuck wth the most ideologically bankrupt government of my lifetime, in which most of the issues that brought people together in such large numbers yesterday are still as relevant — a right-wing, racist, xenophobic, Islamophobic government composed mostly of old white people, hopelessly embroiled in a Brexit nightmare of their own making, that, like Trump’s election, needs to be seen as the death rattle of this old white world.

In the US, as psychopaths continue to gun down children in schools, and the police continue to gun down black people in the streets, we have seen the Black Lives Matter movement arise in response, and, on gun control, fiercely articulate black schoolchildren calling for an end to this culture of death, maintained by the old white world.

In Britain, we also have our own response, via the solidarity that has grown up around the survivors of the Grenfell Tower fire in west London last June, in which 72 people died because those responsible for their safety — at every level from central government to local government to the management company responsible for their homes, and the contractors employed to work on them — deliberately failed to put people’s lives above cost-cutting and profiteering.

In north Kensington, where the skeleton of Grenfell Tower still stands, the community that has come together to demand justice reflects those who died — hard-working, mostly immigrant families, very few of them white. These are the people overlooked, or looked down upon by the establishment, but, as well as establishing an implacable solidarity in the area, they have also attracted significant support from elsewhere in the capital, and from across the country.

The most powerful manifestation of people’s solidarity takes place on the 14th of every month, marking the date last June when the fire happened, in the Silent Walks around the area organised by survivors. I’ve been on three Silent Walks to date, and they are extraordinarily moving occasions, as we collectively meditate on those who lost their lives so needlessly, and engage in a speechless solidarity that has a real power to it.

To me, Grenfell is the epicentre of a new world, in which all those excluded and marginalised by the establishment — the poor, the young, the old, immigrants, the Black and Middle Eastern (BAME) members of British society, and sympathetic white people who refuse to engage in the absolutely unjustifiable white victimhood that fuels Brexit — are coming together to imagine a new world which puts the needs of all before the greed of the few, and re-imagines society accordingly.

The fundamental truth of Grenfell, which isn’t going away, is that, when you can die in your home, which was supposed to be safe, none of us who live in rented accommodation (half the UK’s households) are safe. We all need to be safe, and we all need not to have our homes treated as disposable, not just through the fatal erosion of safety standards, but also through the estate demolition programmes that are spreading throughout London like an epidemic, and that are largely driven by the Labour Party, whose councils around London are, in general, enthusiastically engaged in social cleansing, working with private developers to knock down council estates and to replace them with new developments from which almost all local people will be excluded, because they are fundamental unaffordable — however much politicians bleat about working hard to create properties that are “affordable.”

In the newspeak world of today, “affordable” literally means “unaffordable”, and this entire programme needs resisting and overthrowing before tens of thousands — perhaps hundreds of thousands — of people are driven out of London, their homes replaced by empty flats bought by foreign investors, or rented by those who can just about manage to afford the exorbitant prices demanded by the unfettered greed of the various mafias involved in the housing market.

I hope you enjoy these few photos from yesterday’s protest, but, more importantly, I hope my words above have some resonance for you, and that, little by little, we can bring the new world that I and so many others are glimpsing into being.

Also see the album here:

Love trumps hate

Andy Worthington is a freelance investigative journalist, activist, author, photographer, film-maker and singer-songwriter (the lead singer and main songwriter for the London-based band The Four Fathers, whose music is available via Bandcamp). He is the co-founder of the Close Guantánamo campaign (and see the latest photo campaign here) and the successful We Stand With Shaker campaign of 2014-15, and the author of The Guantánamo Files: The Stories of the 774 Detainees in America’s Illegal Prison (click on the following for Amazon in the US and the UK) and of two other books: Stonehenge: Celebration and Subversion and The Battle of the Beanfield. He is also the co-director (with Polly Nash) of the documentary film, “Outside the Law: Stories from Guantánamo” (available on DVD here — or here for the US), and for his photo project ‘The State of London’ he publishes a photo a day from six years of bike rides around the 120 postcodes of the capital.

In 2017, Andy became very involved in housing issues. He is the narrator of a new documentary film, ‘Concrete Soldiers UK’, about the destruction of council estates, and the inspiring resistance of residents, he wrote a song ‘Grenfell’, in the aftermath of the entirely preventable fire in June that killed over 70 people, and he also set up ‘No Social Cleansing in Lewisham’ as a focal point for resistance to estate destruction and the loss of community space in his home borough in south east London.

To receive new articles in your inbox, please subscribe to Andy’s RSS feed — and he can also be found on Facebook (and here), Twitter, Flickr and YouTube. Also see the six-part definitive Guantánamo prisoner list, The Complete Guantánamo Files, the definitive Guantánamo habeas list, the full military commissions list, and the chronological list of all Andy’s articles.

Please also consider joining the Close Guantánamo campaign, and, if you appreciate Andy’s work, feel free to make a donation.

3 Responses

  1. Andy Worthington says...

    When I posted this on Facebook, I wrote:

    Here’s my latest article, linking to my photos of yesterday’s inspiring 250,000-strong march against Donald Trump in London, but also taking the opportunity to reflect on what also seems to be emerging both here and in the US – a nascent movement of resistance to the old white oppressive world of Trump and the Brexiteers via a dawning new coalition of, as I put it, “the poor, the young, the old, immigrants, the Black and Middle Eastern (BAME) members of British society, and sympathetic white people who refuse to engage in the absolutely unjustifiable white victimhood that fuels Brexit [who] are coming together to imagine a new world which puts the needs of all before the greed of the few, and re-imagines society accordingly.” For the US, I make reference to the Black Lives Matter movement, and, on gun control, as I put it, “fiercely articulate black schoolchildren calling for an end to this culture of death, maintained by the old white world.” And in the UK, of course, the focus for much of this resistance is housing – with Grenfell at the heart of a system of shameful exploitation, via exorbitant rents, estate demolitions, and, as the Grenfell Tower fire last June showed, even death. I hope you have time to read it, and will share it if you appreciate my thoughts.

  2. Tom says...

    It’s too bad that nobody was able to do a citizen’s arrest of Trump. Of course to do that, you have to get the person being arrested to agree to go with you.

    Continue to do good work.

  3. Andy Worthington says...

    Thanks, Tom. I remember when George W. Bush was scared off travelling internationally because of his role in the post-9/11 torture program. Perhaps one day Trump’s crimes will catch up with him.

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Andy Worthington

Investigative journalist, author, campaigner, commentator and public speaker. Recognized as an authority on Guantánamo and the “war on terror.” Co-founder, Close Guantánamo, co-director, We Stand With Shaker. Also, singer and songwriter (The Four Fathers) and photographer.
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