Thousands march against Donald Trump in Edinburgh
Families, students, residents and visitors to the Capital made up the crowd of thousands of people who poured into the square at the Foot of the Mound to demonstrate against President Trump's order to halt the admission to the States from refugees and temporarily ban visitors from seven Muslim countries.
Flags fluttering with the colours of nations from across the globe waved amidst slogans slamming the Trump administration.
Mothers with babes in arms, students, visitors and residents stood shoulder to shoulder at the foot of the Mound in emotional protest against President Trump’s immigration order.
The mood of the thousands-strong crowd was put into words by Fleur Robertson, whose voice wavered as she explained the effect the travel ban, announced by Donald Trump on Friday, would have on her and her family.
Over 45 years ago Fleur moved from Tehran, Iran to Edinburgh.
She considers Scotland her home and the new executive order now threatens her chance to visit her Stateside family.
“They are saying I can’t go – I can’t travel to United States.
“Half my family live in America. If my sister has a wedding or gets ill, I can’t go. I feel the earth is one country and we’re all citizens, why is he doing this?
“Travel shouldn’t have to do with religion, race or sexuality. People should be free to travel.
“What have I done? I have done nothing to America. I don’t even remember Iran, my heart is with Scotland.”
Dubbed the “Muslim Ban” protestors’ frustration was aimed at the controversial order proposed by the new US President to halt admission to the States from refugees and temporarily ban visitors from seven Muslim countries.
The move has sparked widespread condemnation, provoking protest rallies throughout Scotland and the rest of the world.
The Edinburgh Emergency Protest – Stop the Muslim Ban, organised by the Scotland Against Trump group, met at the foot of the Mound last night.
Organisers described the demonstration as a show of solidarity with US protests “against the racist and xenophobic ban on Muslims announced by Trump”.
The crowd cheered a speech by Shuwanna Aaron, NUS Scotland black students’ officer who called for people to continue to gather together for marginalised communities during these “frightening times”.
And joining her atop the stone plinth was Scottish Green Party co-convener Maggie Chapman, who faced the sea of supporters to announce the party’s “complete support”.
She said: “We stand here showing solidarity with Muslims and so many others who are bearing the brunt of the xenophobia and fascism of Trump.
“We will show Trump that his bigotry and hatred have no place in our politics, no place on our streets, and no place in our communities.
“And we will show that Trump is not welcome here. We will not welcome him to our parliament, we will not welcome him to our country, we will not accept his racism, his prejudice or his fascism.”
The crowds, with hoisted placards reading simple messages of support to those affected, marched up the partially-closed Princes Street to continue the demonstration up North Bridge towards the Scottish Parliament.
One sign held by youngster Rose read “Love Trumps hate”. Her mum Maggie Anderson said: “I am scared. It’s about saying this isn’t OK. That’s why I am here, I worry about her future and I want to do something about it.”
Americans both settled and visiting the Capital were buoyed by the support so far from home.
Children’s author Elizabeth Dulemba from Atlanta who is studying at Edinburgh University held aloft a sign with a picture of the Statue of Liberty which read “I’m with her”.
Elizabeth said: “My husband Stan and I have loved the Scottish people since we got here so it doesn’t surprise me this outpouring of support.
“What is going on at home is terribly upsetting, we’re trying to do what we can from afar, and make sure we’re showing solidarity for the majority of Americans. We believe this will at least allow us to give our voice. We support freedom.”
And the strength of feeling amongst the mass of people gathered in the heart of the city is reflective of how Hadeel Nadeem, 27, from Lahore, Pakistan has been made to feel since arriving in Edinburgh a year ago.
“I feel welcome here – people should not stand with hate. The majority stand for love – I don’t know who voted for Trump but we need to unite and tell people that what he stands for is not what everybody wants.”
Similar protests took place around the country with passionate demonstrations held in Aberdeen, Dundee and Glasgow.