'This is the Carnival of Resistance': Why the Trump protests mattered

21 Jul 2018


Donald Trump’s arrival in the UK last week rightfully triggered a wave of immense controversy. From the orange-hued 20-foot tall “Trump Baby” caricaturing him as an infant, to the 250,000 activists that descended onto the streets of London, there is no doubting the hatred this president has aroused from British people. 


Despite opposition from senior ministers including Liam Fox, who called the protestors an “embarrassment”, the demonstration has proven the political assertiveness, power and righteousness of the people; taking upon themselves what the Prime Minister has failed to do. 


As noted by Ash Sarkar in her fiery interview with Piers Morgan on Good Morning Britain, it is an “utter embarrassment” to see our ‘leader’ holding hands with such a bigot; his misogyny, islamophobia and homophobia should have been condemned, instead Mrs May has shamefully validated such behaviour by continuously appeasing his self-serving demands. 


If anything, this has merely proven the essentiality of last Friday’s momentous protest, and as someone who participated, I wish to spread its inspirational effects beyond the streets of London by documenting my personal experience…


Its 2pm and I am frantically configuring my protest banner. Sharpies scattered sporadically across the kitchen table, thick masses of glue under my finger nails. We are late. As my friends and I hurriedly board the tube, the silent passengers spur on an infectious excitement amongst us. In this moment we are young political activists, ready to exercise our democratic rights. I am pondering the thought of shouting and screaming, expressing my politics more boldly than ever before. I peer into the newspapers possessed by daily commuters, the sight of Trump’s wispy hair and wrinkled eyes peering through front pages ignites my aggravation further. I am ready.   


Banner crinkled under my arm, I mount the steps of Oxford Circus tube station. As the underground cloak of darkness is pulled away, the enlightening chants of protest engulf my spirit. The street is a sea of masses, my body suddenly suffocated as protestors spill from street corners like liquid from a tube. Its electrifying.


The atmosphere is an incompatible mixture of solidarity and anger, all united by a common hatred. As the rhythmic repetition of chants seizes my lungs, I gaze upon the different signs within my proximity. They range from comical slogans, “Dump Trump” “Theresa the Appeaser”, to a revolutionary zeal, “This is the Carnival of Resistance” as a personal favourite of mine reads. 


As we advance towards Trafalgar Square, I am suddenly halted by police officers and re-directed around an array of towering buildings. The sight is spectacular. The capacity of the square is exceeded to the point that I can’t see the stage or the protestors around it, only a scattering of colourful banners. 


A rumour that Jeremey Corbyn has made an unofficial appearance suddenly circulates the crowd. The leader of the opposition attending a protest against the president of the United States? Unheard of! We are making history, and it is breath-taking. 


The highlight of the day however comes with my journey home. As I clamber onto the stuffy train carriage, legs aching, tired from the heavy summer heat, people suddenly approach me with conversation. Their genuine curiosity about my reasons for protest and shared distaste of Trump enables the dialogue to naturally flow. My banners even evoke approving nods and winks. Its moments like these, where the deathly silence and formality of public transport are overcome, when we realise how much common humanity we waste every day, and when the hatred populists like Trump promote can catalyse a reverse effect. 


In an era where people often feel powerless, apathetic and disengaged with a political system, which teaches a passive acceptance for what is simply not good enough, protests are a rare but magical reminder of what influence we do have as a united body. 


Our adamant rejection of President Trump meant that our Prime Minister could only succumb to his demands outsidethe city. We quite literally obstructed his passage into our capital. 


Friday was the largest British protest since the Iraq war, and its thunderous effects will be echoed throughout history. Whether it be Piers Morgan or Liam Fox, as a unified body we defeated the establishment and the controversial opinions held by this small minority. The ordinary British people have so much more influence than often comprehended, and in this wonderful sense, we trumped Trump. 

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