Anti-Trump demonstrators gather in Preston

Demonstrators gathered outside the Harris Library in Preston tonight in a peaceful protest against Donald Trump's order.

Monday, 30th January 2017, 6:42 pm
Updated Monday, 30th January 2017, 7:46 pm
The demonstation in Preston against US president Donald Trump's ban on immigration from Muslim countries

Armed with banners and a PA system, various groups from different faiths gathered on Preston’s Flag Market.

Only organised on Facebook at the weekend, the march had quickly gathered support following the US president’s decision to put a ban on immigration from Muslim countries.

The Preston demo was just one of many ‘emergency’ marches to erupt across Britain over Trump’s ‘Muslim ban’. More than 30 cities took part in protests last night including Manchester, London, Liverpool and Sheffield.

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Explaining why she set up the march, Ruth Westcott said: “I was just sat with my mum when we heard about the order being put into place and all the problems it was causing.

“People were getting on flights and not able to get off at the other end. Families couldn’t visit each other and some people couldn’t even get back to their homes.

“I know how big the Muslim community is in Preston and so I wanted to do something straight away. I knew it would be short notice but the support the march has received has been brilliant.”

The 32-year-old marine biologist from Penwortham, Preston, says the march was about coming together under one message.

She said: “There are about 15,000 Muslims living in and around Preston and as a city we won’t stand for these racist politics.

“This order is just breeding fear and hate and I just wanted to do something to bring people together.

Different faiths have joined under one common cause instead of being divided by racist politics.”

Nadeem Ashfaq, co-founder of The Light Foundation, a group which aims to support Muslim converts and break down barriers between communities, joined Ruth for the march.

He said: “My views on this are very simple. We live in a democratic society where people should be should be allowed to exist as they are. By bringing this ‘Muslim ban’ in we’ve gone back to the dark ages.

“People are being judged on what they look like and where they come from. When these kinds of things happen, it only creates extremists on both sides.

“You’ll get Muslims using this as an excuse to do bad things and then you’ll get Trump supporters using this order to do things against Muslims.

“This protest was for people to come together and show solidarity no matter where they are from. We want to show a strong message of unity and love.

“We hope this protest and its message reaches the government so they can use it to fight against the order.

“This is not about religion it’s about humanity and we’re not an angry mob we want to promote a peaceful solution.

“Hopefully our voices and our prayers are answered.”