LONDON – A crowd estimated at 100,000 people took to the streets in London to protest Trump’s inauguration, marching from the U.S. Embassy to Trafalgar Square.
Along the way, protesters talked about what the Trump presidency meant to them and why they were demonstrating.
Dr. Scilla Elworthy, age 73, is founder of the Oxford Research Group of Peace Direct and Rising Women Rising World. “I believe that the advent of xenophobia and misogyny that we see in Donald Trump is a significant wakeup call for everybody,” she said.
“It’s all very well to come along and wave banners,” Dr. Elworthy said, “but that often doesn’t change things. What changes things is when people get together and get inspired to get out there and actually take action––to join up with others, to really become well informed, and to join organizations that have an action program.”
Pepter Lunkuse, age 26, joined the march in support of women, gay rights, and anti-racism. “It’s a whole host of things,” she said.
“[Trump is] not the ideal candidate to be ruling a country that’s considered the superpower of the world,” Lunkuse added. “The next four years are going to be testing, to say the least.”
Sharmaine Lovegrove, 35, returned to London two years ago after living in Berlin.
“Since I got back […] I’ve been marching a lot,” she said. “Hate seems to be prevailing across the world.”
She added, “I don’t understand where this liberal inclusivity went wrong. We didn’t realize that so many people felt so marginalized, and that’s something we do need to address.”
“Sometimes the –isms didn’t stand together enough. And now I feel that [Trump’s inauguration] is a great opportunity for […] anyone that feels marginalized in our society––now it’s our turn to come together,” Lovegrove said.
Alexander Smith, age 27, is a Californian training at a circus school in Bristol. He’s been in the U.K. since Trump was elected to office. “I haven’t had a day to actually lament and protest with anybody,” he said.
For Smith, there was an element of the march that was about mourning. “It’s nice to be able to be with everybody, feel what’s going on, and realize that it is a very sad and disappointing time,” Smith said.
Bethany McDonald Shepherd, age 41, is a dual American and British citizen. She carried a sign that said “Keep your stubby fingers off my pussy,” with the word “pussy” written in purple glitter. Her husband and 19-month-old daughter were close behind.
“I’m here today to march in solidarity with women, but also with anybody who believes in human rights. Right now [with] the administration in the U.S. especially, but also in the U.K.,” she said, “[human rights] are at risk.”
Leila Hackett, age 8, came with her mother from north London. This is her second march; the first she attended was in favor of welcoming refugees.
“I hate Trump,” Leila said.
Leila’s mom chimed in. “What did we talk about this morning? Why is he bad?” she asked.
“He hurt a woman,” Leila said.
“Yeah, he hurt women,” Leila’s mom said. “Why else? What’s he doing for the poor people’s health care?”
“He doesn’t want poor people to be healthy and wealthy,” Leila said.
“My feet hurt,” she added.
Carla Dietmair is a German studying Environmental Law in London. She had just taken a selfie at the march and was struggling to find the perfect caption to go with it.
“[Trump is] sexist, he’s racist, he’s big capital,” she said. “He denies, or he’s really on the fence about climate change, apparently. I mean, these are the issues of our time, and he’s basically going against all of them,” Dietmair said. “So tell me a Facebook caption, because there are just too many.”