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Hundreds gather in Belfast to protest against Trump’s visit to UK

UK News | Published:

Many waved banners featuring anti-Trump messages at Belfast City Hall.

US President Donald Trump arrives for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers

Hundreds of people have gathered at Belfast City Hall to protest against Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.

Many waved banners featuring anti-Trump messages, including “Belfast says no to Trump”.

One Trump supporter who briefly heckled the start of the event was drowned out by the crowd chanting: “Hey ho, what’s the crack, Donald Trump don’t come back”.

Compere Jennie Carlston, of US expat action group Exact, said the rally had been organised by a coalition of groups.

“We are protesting against Trump the man today, he is a dangerous, immoral and corrupt man. But we are also here to protest what Trump stands for, the racism, the intolerance, the rhetoric, the cruelty, discrimination and the arrogance of the US government that he embodies in the worst way,” she said.

The US-born woman added: “As an American, I know that most people here know what it is like to have a government that doesn’t speak for you, that refuses to do what is right, and sometimes even refuses to turn up and represent you. More Americans didn’t vote for this president than did, and we should never forget that.”

Suleiman Abdulahi said everyone should be able to choose where they want to live.

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“I am a migrant, I came to Denmark in the 1990s as a refugee, and today I am an EU citizen and I live in Belfast, I choose to live in Belfast and I believe that everyone of us in the world should choose where they want to live,” he told the crowd to cheers.

“The leaders of the UK need to decide who they want to align with – Trump, who is creating hatred, who is abusing human rights, or the people of Europe who want to progress.

“Trump, you are not welcome here.”

Aaron Quigg, from Gender Jam, Gerry Carson, from the National Union of Journalists, and Ivanka Antova, of United Against Racism, also addressed the crowd.

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Mr Trump met the Queen at Windsor Castle on Friday before travelling to Scotland.

Belfast People Before Profit councillor Gerry Carroll told the Press Association he believes thousands would turn out to protest if Mr Trump ever visited Belfast.

“I think a strong message was sent out from Belfast today,” he said.

“The message went out that Belfast says no to Trump, we say no to everything he represents. He is someone who has used horrible sexist language, he is someone who has attacked migrants and whipped up Islamophobia.

“There were rumours that he might come to somewhere in Ireland. If there is a visit confirmed, I think there will be thousands of people on the street against Trump.

“I would call on Leo Varadkar and the parties at Stormont to make it clear they will not issue an invitation to Donald Trump to come to anywhere on this island.”

Speaking to the media in Co Mayo on Friday, Mr Varadkar said there are no plans for the US president to visit Ireland.

“I note that he is paying a visit to Europe but there are no plans at the moment for any visit to Ireland,” he said.

Mr Varadkar also said he did not agree with Mr Trump’s reported criticism of Theresa May over Brexit published in a newspaper article.

“I disagree with them (the comments), I disagree with them on two counts, I don’t think that when you are a foreign president you should interfere in the internal politics of another country, I don’t think that’s helpful,” he said.

“And secondly his view seems to be that the people of the United Kingdom voted for a hard Brexit. My view is different, it’s that they barely voted for Brexit, 51/49, and of course the people of Northern Ireland didn’t vote for it at all, and I really think what Prime Minister May is doing is trying to reflect the will of the British people.”

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