From Twitter to Streets: Anti-Trump protests across Britain

Looking at what is happening now across Britain I am very proud of the thousands of people protesting across the whole country. But there is another thought which comes immediately to my mind. The protests would not have been possible on such a scale if it weren’t for the social media which enable people to organise themselves in a short period of time.

It is not the first time when I am witnessing a protest on a national scale being just a result of one post.

Back in November thousands of women in Poland went on the streets to oppose the inhumane proposal of a complete ban of abortion. The so called black protest started with a Facebook post by an actress, Krystyna Janda, who reminded the Poles about the women’s strike in Iceland in 1975. The response on Facebook and Twitter was overwhelming. 10 days later in majority of cities and towns women and man, old and young went to the streets to express their anger that the ultra catholic, right wing government wants to take away fundamental human rights.

Similar was also in this case. It was Owen Jone’s tweet which encouraged people in the UK to protest against Muslim Ban introduced by Donald Trump and against Theresa May’s lenient stance towards the new president and his decisions.

Gradually more and more people were responding and arranging protests in their local ares. From London to Edinburgh protesters united to show their support for Muslims banned from entering the USA and their disapproval of Mr Trump’s policies threatening democratic values.

The protesters dissatisfied with Theresa May’s recent visit at the White House were urging her to stand up for human rights and democratic values being destroyed by Trump.

The anger in the public was also fueled by Mrs May who invited Mr Trump for a state visit. The reaction of the British citizens was immediate. There are more than 3 petitions available on which aim to prevent Donald Trump to make a state visit to the UK. The number of signatures is growing constantly and within only 2 days one of the petition got more than 1,500,000 signatures, which means that the topic of the state visit will be considered by the Parliament for a debate.

Again the success of the petitions would not be so impressive without social media. Thousand of people are posting and sharing the links via different channels.

Even though, I don’t expect the petition to make miracles (in the end Mrs May wants to have at least one “steady’ partner after Brexit), it is really important that people are empowered to express the opinion and scrutinise the movements of the ruling elites. And especially now with so many authoritarian tendencies across western democracies this ability seems to be more and more crucial.

So in the end from a form of an entertainment social media starts to become a citizenship tool, which in the uncertain times brings people together across the borders.


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