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 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.”
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.