Thousands march against racism and Islamophobia in London

Tens of thousands of people demonstrated in London and other British cities yesterday in a determined show of unity against racism and Islamophobia.

The issues at the top of the agenda for the huge crowd were Donald Trump’s attempts to ban Muslims from the United States, as well as the targeting of Muslims and refugees in the UK and across Europe.

The march was called by the Stand Up to Racism group and backed by dozens of trade unions and other organisations, including many Muslim ones.

The march culminated in a rally in Parliament Square. Speakers warned against the targeting of minorities, and especially Muslims, and emphasised the contribution that immigrants had made to Britain.

Siema Iqbal, from MEND, said: “Many people think Islamophobia started when Donald Trump signed the Muslim ban but it’s been going on for decades. But today was all about saying I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough of thinking that my dad may be the next one killed on his way back from the mosque or that my child needs to hide his face when we’re on a plane, or that my friends that wear hijab are scared to go out in case they get spat upon, or that foreigners are being blamed for the state of the NHS. I think it’s about time we raised our voices, use them in solidarity with one another and say enough is enough.”

Moazzam Begg, from CAGE, added: “There have been so many people who have contributed to the language, customs, culture, food, architecture of this country whether they fought for the empire, whether it was invaders or migrants that brought in various words that we still use to this day 0 whether it be Arabic, Farsi, Pashto, French or Latin. This shows that Britain is a country that has been made up of migrants.”

Saturday’s march in London was the start of a weekend of international anti-racist protests around Europe.

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