Edinburgh protest: Anti-Trump placards to be museum exhibits

Anti Trump protesters in Edinburgh made hundreds of banners. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Anti Trump protesters in Edinburgh made hundreds of banners. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

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Cardboard signs emblazoned with the silhouette of the Statue of Liberty rubbed against placards splashed with anti-hate slogans while standing out against a sea of homemade banners, one sign read simply “History has its eyes on you”.

And following Monday’s protest march against controversial policies made by President Trump, the city will capture that moment as a snapshot in the Capital’s long history of civic demonstration.

Protesters with banners march through Canongate. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

Protesters with banners march through Canongate. Picture: Andrew O'Brien

The city’s museum service is rapidly collecting protest paraphernalia used in the march to put on display as part of an exhibition named In Scotland We Build Bridges.

Following curators’ calls for placards, banners and photos relating to the city’s recent marches, the Edinburgh’s People’s Story Museum has received a flurry of donations and loans including films, homemade placards and personal testimonies.

“We’ve been overwhelmed by the mostly unprompted amount of material that has been pledged so far,” said Gillian Findlay, the council’s curatorial and engagement manager.

“It’s been one of the most exciting and most tremendous events in the city and we need to strike while the iron is hot to record the stories, the feelings and the emotion of the moment.”

“Votes for women” protest banners, rainbow flags from LGBT demonstrations and more recently campaign materials from the independence referendum feature in Edinburgh’s proud protest history.

“The city has a fabulous and really important collection of protest material dating from as early as the 17th century – 
people in this city have never been afraid to put their lives on the line for what they believe,” Gillian said. “We have protested everything from religious reform to social reform to health and safety rights for workers. We have demonstrated about poll tax, apartheid and we’ve demonstrated more recently about the decision to leave the European Union.”

In 2005, 225,000 people took to the streets of the city to march in the Make Poverty History demonstrations.

And with thousands swelling in the city streets to campaign against the US presidency’s travel ban, Edinburgh will now record the voices and stories of the people who made up the numbers.

“We want to know how they felt on Monday night, what their motivation was and what happens next,” Gillian explained. “Our part in this process will be to make sure we record the 
moment – record how people felt in Edinburgh and their motivation for getting involved.

“We need to ensure 2017’s political reform is looked after in just the same way as that of the 17th century.”

Nearly 35,000 residents from Edinburgh and the 
Lothians have signed a petition calling for a state visit by Donald Trump to the UK to be cancelled. And more than 1.8 million people have put their name to an online petition since it launched on the government’s official petitions site.

fiona.pringle@jpress.co.uk