Around 100 people gathered in Barnstaple Square tonight to protest against the Donald Trump’s visit to Britain, “standing shoulder to shoulder to say go away Trump, you’re not welcome here.”
Placards of all shapes and sizes were seen at the demonstration against the US President, with local figures from Labour, the Lib Dems, Momentum, the Green Party and the Communists all in attendance.
It comes as thousands marched in London and towns and cities across the country today against the arrival of Trump arrived in Britain yesterday (Thursday) for a three-day working visit.
The organisers, Stand Up to Racism North Devon, hailed Barnstaple’s rally as “passionate and emotional”, and “a fantastic success.”
“I think it is astounding how a man who has expressed racist ideas, misogynistic ideas, sexist ideas, a man who took babies from their parents, should be given a welcome by the government of this country,” Liz Clinch, one of the organisers, told the Gazette.
“It was a fantastic success, and the first thing I noticed was that the number of women exceeded the number of men which is quite unusual at political gatherings.
“But I think what it indicates is that women are really fed up with this misogynistic president – we want to take the message out there that we won’t accept this misogynist and we want strong women around who are going to resist his ideas as long as he is in power.”
Several speakers addressed the lively crowd, vocalising their belief that Trump stands for misogyny, racism, homophobia and carelessness.
Tracey Nicholson, from Appledore, told the crowd: “We fought against people like trump during the war by now he’s here and he’s meeting the Queen and it incenses me – our country has fought against his lies and his bigotry, his vileness.
“He is robbing his planet of water, indigenous people – pure greed and this world should and does love, and the currency of this world should be love not hatred or greed.”
Maaka, who also spoke passionately to the gathering, said: “I watch the news and I am furious because I cannot believe that the world has come to this – it depends on you and I to stop him.”
Siobhan Strode, vice chairman of North Devon Labour party, added: “It was a really positive event and it’s really good to see everyone uniting against fascism – especially the children speaking.
“It was really emotional for me standing up there – the splitting up of families particularly hits home.”
The American President’s controversial visit has been met with outrage across the country, with protests also staged in Exeter, Plymouth, and Totnes this evening (Friday).
Claire Scott, a professional artist, painted a giant beastly image of Trump on canvas, joining other creative placards featuring costumes of Trump and figure-heads, held by men, women and children.
“I rant to my children about human rights and equality for all so I’ve got to stand up and show my colours – teach them about peaceful protest, and preserve the right of peaceful protest as well because it’s under threat,” she told the Gazette.
Ricky Knight, head of the North Devon Green Party, said: “I’m so happy and really enjoyed being part of it.
“You always have the old guard out but today we had five or six people really passionately and emotionally standing up and speaking.
“Maybe we are just the few standing up against what seems like the rise of fascism in the 21st century.
“It fills me with appalling fear but I’m not prepared to roll over – I’m going to rage against it.”
Dave Clinch, who spoke vocally at the event and helped organise it, said: “It was incredible, and it was everyone uniting regardless of the political differences we have – the main message is go away trump, you’re not welcome here.”