From London and Paris to New York and Washington, thousands of people took to the streets Saturday in American and European cities to protest US President Donald Trump’s travel ban, even as it was suspended by a federal judge.
The biggest demonstration by far took place in the British capital, where an estimated 10,000 people turned out, chanting “Theresa May: Shame on You” to denounce the British prime minister’s support for the new US leader.
Brandishing placards declaring “No to scapegoating Muslims” and “Socialism not Trumpism,” the protesters moved from the US embassy toward May’s Downing Street office.
In an executive order issued on January 27, Trump slapped a blanket ban on nationals of seven mainly Muslim countries -- Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen -- barring their entry to the United States for 90 days.
Refugees were also barred from entry for 120 days, except those from Syria, who were blocked indefinitely.
However, on Friday, a US federal judge suspended the ban, a move which the Republican president -- who took office on January 20 -- condemned and vowed to fight.
In Britain, more than 1.8 million people have signed a petition saying Trump should not be afforded a formal state visit because it would embarrass Queen Elizabeth II.
“We’re going to bring this capital to a halt on the day he comes over. We are going to make it impossible for him to have a state visit,” Chris Nineham, vice-chair of the Stop the War Coalition, told AFP.
The Guardian newspaper said around 10,000 people attended the London protest, while organizers claimed 40,000.
Elsewhere in Europe, about 1,000 people turned out in both Paris and Berlin, while smaller gatherings of several hundred people took place in provincial British cities including Manchester and Birmingham.
“We are here to say we don’t accept hate,” said 20-year-old American Michael Jacobs, co-organizer of the Paris rally, surrounded by signs saying “Refugees are welcome!”
In Berlin, protesters rallied in front of the Brandenburg Gate.
“I hope they will change something, but I am really disappointed,” said Mahsa Zamani, a 26-year-old Iranian medical student who had been due to head to a Florida hospital for an internship.
“It is still discrimination, and I don’t know if I really feel like going even if they are changing (the rules).”
On Saturday evening, hundreds of protesters were planning to march near Trump’s Mar-a-Lago club and vacation home in Florida, though police were expected to keep them far from the property.