Students were among the several hundred people who gathered in Dublin this evening to protest US President Donald Trump’s visit to Ireland.
The protest was organised by the Stop Trump Ireland campaign, which is a coalition of over 50 Irish civil rights organisations, political parties and campaign groups, including the Union of Students in Ireland (USI).
The demonstration began at 6pm at the Garden of Remembrance. Speakers representing various organisations stood on a podium and explained their reasoning for attending the protest.
The Trump baby blimp was flying high at the Garden of Remembrance, its first appearance at an Irish protest. The blimp, a six metre-tall inflatable baby Trump in a safety-pinned nappy, had its first outing at London demonstrations last year. Organisers received special permission from the Irish Aviation Authority to fly the blimp.
The crowd marched down O’Connell Street and D’Olier Street before looping around onto Westmoreland Street and marching back to the Garden of Remembrance for several final speeches made in the rain.
USI Vice President for Campaigns Michelle Byrne said: “One of our core goals for students across [the country] is the defence and promotion of all democratic and human rights, and we want to show solidarity to those whose human rights are being violated, and Trump, well, ticks quite a few boxes.”
“Trump has worked to undo what world leaders have spent decades trying to achieve: recognition of a climate crisis; a basic level of affordable healthcare, including reproductive healthcare; affordable and safe education and an end to racism, xenophobia, homophobia, transphobia, misogyny and rape culture.”
Political parties such as Solidarity-People Before Profit, the Social Democrats and the Green Party were among the political parties present. Other groups represented at the demonstration were the Irish Palestine Solidarity Campaign, United Against Racism, Extinction Rebellion and the socialist feminist group ROSA.
On the protest’s Facebook event page, the Stop Trump Ireland campaign said: “Donald Trump is a threat to us all. As the world’s leading climate change denier who has pulled the US out of the Paris climate agreement, removed environment protection in America he is destroying the planet and endangering the whole future of humanity. He is a strong promoter of importing fracked gas into Ireland via Shannon LNG.”
The group listed Trump’s boasting about sexually assaulting women, his ‘Muslim ban’ and “carte blanche support to Apartheid Israel” as among the other reasons for the anti-Trump protest.
The organising group called Trump a “vicious transphobe” who has emboldened far right racists and fascists across the world. “He has posed as the friend of ‘the working man’ but in reality he is a billionaire property developer who represents the interests of the super rich. He filled his cabinet with CEOs, and generals.”
“This is why as a coalition of progressive campaigners and activists we all say Trump is not welcome in Ireland,” the group stated.
The Stop Trump Ireland campaign was set up to organise a rally opposing Trump’s visit to Ireland last year. The rally was cancelled following Trump’s decisions not to visit Ireland.
Trump arrived at Shannon airport with his wife Melania yesterday afternoon, following their three-day visit to the UK. He was greeted by Taoiseach Leo Varadkar, with whom he had a public meeting in the Shannon airport presidential suite. Around 100 protesters were also present.
Trump and Melania then travelled to Doonbeg, where he owns a hotel and golf resort, and stayed the night. He travelled to France today for a D-Day commemoration and returned to Doonbeg this evening for a final night in Ireland.