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Hundreds take to the streets in Leeds at anti-Trump protest

Hundreds of protesters gathered in Leeds city centre to protest against American President Donald Trump banning citizens of several predominantly Muslim countries from entering the US on Monday January 30.

The march was hosted by Leeds Stand Up to Racism and supported by other groups such as the Leeds Socialist Party.

Trumps travel ban, which is being called #MuslimBan on social media, targeted seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iraq, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen for 90 days.
The ban forbids non US citizens from entering the US from the selected countries, as well as temporarily suspending all American refugee programmes for 120 days and completely stopping US intake Syrian refugees.
President Trump issued the executive order on January 27, on grounds that the banning of people from countries associated with terrorism would protect American citizens.
The ban was met with outcry by Democrats in America, with other left-wing political parties around the world, such as the UK Labour Party decrying the ban as being discriminatory and racist in nature.

The protest began in Dortmund Square, going through Briggate, finishing at the Leeds Art Gallery.

Leeds Stand Up to Racism posted on their Facebook page that the protest was intended to highlight a petition started by Leeds solicitor Graham Guest, that President Trump should not be allowed to enter the UK on a state visit, planned for later this year.

Maddy Steeds, 21 treasurer of Leeds University Socialist Students, who marched in Leeds city centre on January 30, expressed her view that the travel ban was racially motivated; “I think the travel ban is indicative of the Islamophobia that has been present in our society since 9/11. Trumps ban is encouraging the scapegoating of societal issues onto Muslims and other immigrants which is increasing tensions in the US.”

She added; “This has a knock-on effect to British society as well as people will be effected by this scare mongering which leads to an increased risk for immigrants in our society too.”

The ban which has been challenged by US courts, and overturned temporarily on caught up thousands of travellers at airports all across America. Many non-US citizens were turned back, which prompted widespread protests around America, especially around airports.

The so called “Muslim Ban” has proved to be divisive not just for American politics but for the public and politicians of other countries around the world.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has come under intense scrutiny by left-leaning politicians within Parliament, such as Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn speaking on BBC Radio London, voiced his support for Speaker of The House of Commons John Bercow, in banning Trump from making a state visit.

The UN Refugee Agency called for Trump to recognise the dire situation of refugees in the Middle East and for the US to continue offering asylum to those fleeing war, in a statement on Saturday.

“We strongly believe that refugees should receive equal treatment for protection and assistance, and opportunities for resettlement, regardless of their religion, nationality or race,” they said.

The petition has reached over 1.6 million signatures, greatly surpassing the 10,000 needed for the petition to be debated in parliament. The debate is to take place in parliament on February 20.

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