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American Idiot: Playing The Trump Placards

What does protesting actually achieve? Simply, it shows we care, which allows us to puncture holes of light into the gloomy history Trump is creating.

On Friday 13 July, whilst our Prime Minister was firmly hand in glove with he who must not be named, thousands of us, across the country, congregated and formed protests to exemplify our outrage – the turnout exceeded 250,000.

Manchester surely proved Mr Trump’s visit to the UK de trop. DJ Dave Haslam warmed up crowds, called by Manchester Council Labour Group and Stand Up To Trump, in Albert Square with music including the sadly socially relevant ‘(We Don’t Need This) Fascist Groove Thang’ by Heaven 17. The gathering also welcomed a range of speakers, who delivered strong, potent speeches, projecting messages of solidarity onto the hundreds of attendees. With LGBTQ+ speakers expressing their disgust at Trump’s radically homophobic views; feminist campaigners, illuminating Trump’s apparent hatred of women and his disregard of their rights; race equality activists jarred by his brutality towards immigrants; and environmentalists, concerned about Trump’s ignorance regarding the planet, one question remained clear: who hadn’t Trump offended? The diverse line-up of speakers quite vigorously answered that: almost nobody.

Mexican dancers paraded the stage, performing beautifully, though this acted as a pertinent statement, with poignant undertones of the ongoing row in the US regarding Trump’s inhumane immigration policies, whereby children are being brutally torn away from their families at the Mexican borders.

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In the crowds, signs were suffused with slogans expressing anger, including the pertinent “History has its eyes on you”, which perfectly illustrates how Trump’s callous actions won’t go forgotten, haunting future generations to come. Alongside this was the comically Mancunian wit of “Trump is a bad nob” and “Trumps were supposed to be funny” – both equally effective.

The protests conjured chilling historical parallels to the Suffragettes and Civil Rights marches, harshly exposing Trump’s undoing of social progress, whilst he passionately fronts an ‘un-revolution’, tarnishing the work of great activists, such as Martin Luther King and Emmeline Pankhurst. The thought of actually having to protest basic human rights in 2018 is, quite frankly, frightening. We should be, globally, moving forward, learning from history, but Trump seems to be halting any liberal advances, which in turn prompted so many to gather and stand up for what’s right.

66-year-old activist Anita Gill was inspired to get out and protest when she felt threatened. After living through times of integral racism, sexism and homophobia, then later seeing, with hope, things beginning to move forward and improve, and now having to watch things revert back to the worst of times. She certainly didn’t stand alone. Trump inarguably poses a sinister threat to our politics and, as his power increases, so does his influence.

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Many wonder: what does protesting actually achieve? Simply, it shows we care (just as Ms Trump’s uncouth choice of jacket implies she doesn’t), which allows us to puncture holes of light into the gloomy history Trump is undoubtedly creating, showing future generations we didn’t just stand by to accept Trump’s unscrupulous agenda. Also, in protesting, we set an example to our children, promoting the idea, through solidarity, that we can prompt positive social change, keeping the youth hopeful and inspired.

Images inset by Amber Dawson.

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