Our article writer Daisy Leigh-Phippard attended the ‘Students Against Trump’ protest at AUB today. Here’s what she had to say.
‘No tolerance for intolerance,’ said a placard from today’s peaceful protest from students. In light of the recent political events in the United States, a group of AUB and BU students met in the courtyard to express their support for those feeling concerned. The small but dedicated group could be heard from all over campus, and the rainbow flags and umbrellas were a welcome sight. Handwritten signs with the familiar slogans of ‘love wins’, ‘united we stand’ and ‘build bridges not walls’ were being waved amongst others. Both Bournemouth universities have vibrantly diverse communities openly supporting individuals of varying nationalities, genders, religions and sexualities (the AUB and BU Pride event is taking place later this month as it happens), and as an artistic community we ourselves have many outlets to express our beliefs and feelings about these uncertain political times. But as the world has demonstrated over the last few weeks, a quick way to reach people is through peaceful protest.
‘All of us here attend universities that house international students. In light of President Trump’s recent executive order on migrants, and indeed our own prime minister’s compliance, this demonstration is to show solidarity to those ostracised. We want to have a positive demonstration to support those scared or concerned by Trump’s regime’ – Elly Markem, organiser.
Today’s event was undoubtedly inspired by countless marches and protests taking place across the globe since Trump’s inauguration. The Women’s March of January 21st had an estimated 4,956,422 people out in the streets in 673 different marches across the United States and the rest of the world. The march on Washington alone was estimated to be larger than the President’s inauguration the previous day. Even a few days ago peaceful protesters sat down in the LAX Airport after Trump signed an executive order for the Muslim Ban, resulting in numerous civilians being detained. Amongst the crowd were lawyers who were offering to provide free support and defence to anyone affected. In the UK itself we’re seeing ‘emergency demonstrations’ popping up against Trump and his regime outside Downing Street, in Brighton and other cities to make clear a very powerful response that has come out of the events of 2016.
‘The purpose of the demonstration was to show that both Bournemouth universities, as diverse international communities, embrace difference and solidarity in the face of these troubling times. It is vital that we are seen to show love, respect and unity in the face of legitimated intolerance and fear’ – Izzie Jones, organiser.
Despite common misconception the main points of these protests (at AUB and globally) are not to get trump’s attention or even really his supporters’, but to spread solidarity, love and hope to those who are scared and vulnerable. It doesn’t matter if you oppose Trump’s regime already, that belief can’t start to make a difference until it’s spoken. What we’ve seen from recent activism is that we are definitely not alone in this fight, but I wonder how many of us feel lonely when the breaking news icon appears on our dashboard as it so frequently is at the moment. As the organisers of the protest today made clear, they were not there to spread anger and blame, but love and support. As one placard said: ‘hate nothing at all except hate.’
Words by Daisy Leigh-Phippard, Photographs by Sophie Lawrence and Katie Emerson