Advertised on Facebook, and with the scattering of mentions in the media, was the promise for an ‘anti-Trump’ protest in the northern UK city of Manchester; a place that celebrates diversity and this year – democracy, given its upcoming Mayoral elections. Poised for 6pm in St Peters Square, an incredibly central and busy area of Manchester, I set off to cover the event.
Arriving half an hour early, I was greeted by a small crown of about 15 protestors, all huddled around a sprawling of benches in front of a busy tram stop. Megaphones were being screeched into, placards were poised and hands were cold – but the real crowd still wasn’t here.
At about 6pm GMT the ball started rolling, with crowds arriving in the dozens and the atmosphere picks up with anti-Trump chants, the odd distant scream of “f**k Trump”, and blaring drum sets. People of all backgrounds appeared to attend; all faiths, all colours and most income brackets – all unified with a uniform hatred of one man.
Another 10 minutes wait, and the speakers started trickling in; each representing a different protesting cause, each armed with a speech and a message, and each with a lengthy address to the crowd – which is now at peak size. Those in attendance listened intently, eager to exercise their democratic right to peacefully protest, and as the phrase was repeated through the night, “to stand with our brothers and sisters in the United States of America” – a symbolic act in reaction to the Presidential Inauguration of Donald Trump.
And then came the ‘power speaker’, Member of European Parliament – Julie Ward. Delivering a lengthy, and at times strong speech, she attacked the conservative news website Breitbart, Donald Trump and Nigel Farage. An excerpt of her speech can be found in the video below:
Shortly after, I caught up with Julie Ward MEP for a private interview about Brietbart, UKIP and the upcoming UK local elections. This interview will be available shortly on Next Generation Blogs.
The night wrapped up with two songs by a local artist brandishing a guitar and harmonica, much to the amusement of the crowd. The first a self-creation in protest of Trump, and the second an anti-establishment tune. The crowds began to dwindle, and once he finished, they were all but gone.