Yesterday, President Trump’s visit to London was met with fierce protest, including that by LSE students.
Around 250,000 people joined the protest starting at BBC studios in London and progressing past Regent Street and finishing in Trafalgar Square. A special guest also joined the protest: a huge balloon baby looking like Trump was floated above the march, presumably mimicking Trump’s inflated sense of self-importance.
Among those marching were LSE students like Sarina, a 3rd year studying politics and international relations. She explained that, whilst interning in a public affairs office, the mood there became very subdued when Trump arrived in the UK. She, like many other LSE students felt that Trump was an inadequate representative for the ‘land of the free’ or a suitable world leader. She concluded by saying: ‘it was nice to go and see that we were nowhere near alone in the fight against bigotry.’
Indeed this isn’t the usual reception of a US president to the UK. Previous visits like that of Obama saw him drop into a primary school for a spontaneous visit. In contrast, Trump has not ventured anywhere unguarded and unprotected. The roads around Windsor were closed a day before his visit in preparation. Polling data suggests UK residents show a deep mistrust in the president, 63% agreeing that he makes the world a more dangerous place.
LSE societies, like that of the Labour society, have voiced their support for the protests. Rania, an LSE student who joined the protest and is the BAME rep for Labour students, described the march: ‘it was amazing to join thousands of people to protest against Trump in the UK.’ She describes the sentiment of the protest: ‘Trump has done nothing apart from spreading hate and division; We can’t become complacent in a fight for our values, that’s why I was so proud to be able to take a stand’.