Anti-Trump Protests in the UK Are Actually Helping Raise Money for Charities
The “baby blimp” campaign has been quietly fundraising for six UK and US organisations.
In case you hadn’t heard, US President Donald Trump is currently on a state visit to the UK, hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May.
After he and first lady Melania touched down at London’s Stansted airport on Monday morning, much of the first day of the visit was taken up with meeting and greeting the royal family — including a ceremonial welcome in the gardens of Buckingham Palace, an inspection of the Guard of Honour, and a state banquet.
But while there’s been a lot of pomp rolled out in honour of President Trump’s visit — as a key ally of Britain — there’s also been a lot of protest action against some of his more controversial policies.
On the second day of Trump’s visit, the president began by having breakfast with May and business leaders, and then visited Downing Street for more talks.
Just down the road, however, thousands of demonstrators were filling London’s Trafalgar Square protesting, among other things, the president’s policies on issues like gender equality, family planning rights, and the climate crisis.
And in Parliament Square, a 20-foot high inflatable blimp in the president’s likeness but dressed as a baby floated above the crowd, after its owners received permission from the Met police and the Mayor of London.
“We used the power and momentum of the baby to fundraise for groups fighting against Trump’s policies,” said Matt Bonner, a graphic artist and one of the creators of the “baby blimp.”
Before flying the blimp over the capital, the team behind the inflatable called on the public to raise £30,000 through a crowdfunding campaign in support of six organisations working to support “the most vulnerable communities” across the UK and the US.
“Groups across North America and the UK have been pushing back against the politics of hate and division that are represented by Trump,” says the crowdfunding website.
The call has already smashed its original target, raising £36,000, with a new target now set of £50,000.
In the UK, the organisations being supported are:
1. The UK Student Climate Network
The UKSCN is a group of mostly under 18s, according to the crowdfund, who protest government inaction on the climate crisis.
“They are mobilising unprecedented numbers of students to create a strong movement and send a message that they are tired of being ignored,” it adds.
Jawaab works to encourage young Muslims to become a force for justice, fairness, and respect in their communities.
“We build power by creating healing justice spaces, by building leadership and creativity, and empower young Muslims to seek change at a local level,” it says.
According to the site, Islamophobia “lends itself to violence, marginalisation, exploitation, and feelings of powerlessness… Young Muslims are not given the same opportunities as the majority of people and this impacts their everyday life. It dehumanises them, it creates huge racial and social barriers in access to education, employment, and health.”
3. Sisters Uncut
This organisation works alongside those experiencing domestic, sexual, gendered, and state violence in their daily lives — for their right to “live in safety.”
It's an intersectional feminist direct-action collective, according to the website, meaning that they don’t share one “type” of feminism — but unite behind a desire to campaign for better domestic violence services that recognise the particular experiences and needs of women of all backgrounds.
In the US, the organisations supported by the fundraising are:
1. Sunrise Movement
This organisation works against climate change, and creates jobs in the process. It works with young people to make climate change an urgent priority across the US, according to its website.
It adds that Sunrise is a movement of ordinary young people “who are scared about what the climate crisis means for the people and places we love.”
2. United We Dream
This is the largest immigrant youth-led community in the US. They create welcoming spaces for young people, regardless of their immigration status, and work to support, engage, and empower.
They help young people develop their leadership and organisation skills, and to develop their own campaigns to help ensure justice and dignity for all people, according to the website.
3. Planned Parenthood
Now working for more than a century, Planned Parenthood delivers reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of people both in the US and around the world
Termed the Together Against Trump protest, Tuesday was billed as a “carnival of resistance” — with protests planned across Birmingham, Stoke, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Chester, Leicester, Oxford, and Exeter, as well as London, according to the Guardian.
Protesters were barred from demonstrating right outside Downing Street, where May and Trump were holding meetings, and there were road closures in place across the city and a strong police and security presence.
According to the Evening Standard, police were braced for potential clashes between Trump supporters and protesters, after “a number” of confrontations outside Buckingham Palace on Monday night.