A large crowd listens to speakers on the City Hall steps – photo © The Eye Snapper
Cold February weather and a slight drizzle was not enough to keep hundreds of Norwich protestors from venturing out to join a protest against America’s new far-right President Trump. Over 500 people crowded St Peters Street and listened to a number of speakers on the steps of City Hall, including local activists from many groups and City and County Councillors from Labour, LibDem and Green Parties. A speaker from the local mosque was warmly applauded by the protestors as he thanked Norwich for its support. A UEA student called Lottie drew enthusiastic support from the crowd, many of whom were school and college students.
The speakers painted a picture of a city that makes a point of welcoming refugees and rejecting intolerance or division in any area of life. British Prime Minister Theresa May came in for particular criticism for appearing to extend the hand of friendship to Trump, and indeed for holding the hand of a man considered by many to be an extreme misogynist.
Many families attended the protest, including families representing many of the minority groups who have found a safe and secure home in the city.
At one point there was a small counter-demonstration of up to two Trump supporters who shouted at the crowd before being chased off with a wave of derision. An increased number of Police then arrived from the nearby Police Station but they were not called upon to deal with anything more taxing than some enquiries from bewildered passers by.
The election of Donald Trump has generated widespread controversy and angry reactions across the world but it has also certainly sparked the creativity of slogan writers and banner makers at many protest events, and in this regard Norwich showed skills to match the best.
A man in the centre of the crowd proclaimed ‘Not Proud To Be American’, another banner said ‘They tried to bury us -they didn’t know we were seeds’. Others included ‘Make Love Not Walls’, and a number conflating Trump and Brexit. Politer slogans included ‘Reject Islamophobia Everywhere’, ‘Theresa the Appeaser’, ‘Dump Trump’, Diversity is Strength’ and ‘It’s Almost As Cold As Trump’s Heart’.
Many protestors drew parallels between the policies of Donald Trump and the rise of Fascism in Europe in the 1930s and are clearly determined that history is not allowed to repeat itself.
The demonstration ended peacefully as those present dissipated with many in search of warm food and drink on this chilly evening.