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1 Day Without Us

On 20 February 2017, tens of thousands of people across the UK took to the streets to declare their solidarity with migrants as part of the 1 Day Without Us national day of action.

Organised by a diverse group of volunteers, the day of action was developed to highlight the importance of EU nationals and non-EU immigrants living, working and studying within the UK. Although xenophobia, racism and anti-immigrant sentiments are nothing new within the UK, recent events such as the Brexit referendum and Prime Minister Theresa May’s ‘special relationship’ with US President Donald Trump have brought these issues to greater prominence. The message behind 1 Day Without Us is thus a timely one.

While individual events took place across the country and throughout the day, the main event saw upwards of 10,000 people gather in London’s Parliament Square for an evening rally which lasted into the night. Elsewhere in London that evening, MPs in Westminster Hall debated the offer of a UK state visit proposed by Theresa May to Donald Trump. The debate was sparked by a petition signed by nearly 2 million people demanding that the invitation to Trump be cancelled. Should Trump’s state visit go forward, it is estimated that the resultant protests may be the largest in British history.

During the afternoon, hundreds of students joined non-profit organisation Movement for Justice in a mass walk-out in protest of Brexit and Trump. The event’s Facebook page claims that together, Trump and those heading up the Brexit campaign ‘have strengthened fascism across Europe’, and urged participants that ‘to fight Trump's anti-Muslim and anti-immigrant attacks we must fight the biggest single attack on immigrant rights in our generation: Brexit’.

I arrived at SOAS University, one of two meeting points for the demonstration, shortly after 1:00PM. Following a rally on the SOAS campus, participants gathered placards, megaphones and PA systems and set off to march through Central London to Parliament Square.

The following photographs were captured during the rally and march from SOAS to Parliament Square, and at the main 1 Day Without Us rally thereafter.

 Karen, a member of Movement for Justice, speaks to students and staff of SOAS University who have gathered at the rally.

Karen, a member of Movement for Justice, speaks to students and staff of SOAS University who have gathered at the rally.

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 Construction workers stop to peer out as the march approaches.

Construction workers stop to peer out as the march approaches.

 Joyful resistance at the head of the march

Joyful resistance at the head of the march

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 Marches from other universities and colleges join the main group on the march towards Parliament Square.

Marches from other universities and colleges join the main group on the march towards Parliament Square.

 Antonia, a member of Movement for Justice, leads the chants as the march makes its way around Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall.

Antonia, a member of Movement for Justice, leads the chants as the march makes its way around Trafalgar Square and onto Whitehall.

 Police presence, which had been nonexistent for most of the march from SOAS University, intensifies on Whitehall.

Police presence, which had been nonexistent for most of the march from SOAS University, intensifies on Whitehall.

 A man holds a placard at Parliament Square while the stage is prepared for the 1 Day Without Us rally.

A man holds a placard at Parliament Square while the stage is prepared for the 1 Day Without Us rally.

 A man displays his placard at the 1 Day Without Us rally. The sign references US President Donald Trump’s claim that a terror attack had occurred several days prior in Sweden. No terror attacks or major crimes took place in Sweden on the night in question.

A man displays his placard at the 1 Day Without Us rally. The sign references US President Donald Trump’s claim that a terror attack had occurred several days prior in Sweden. No terror attacks or major crimes took place in Sweden on the night in question.

 A man holding placard claiming ‘Donald Trump is sent by Christ to move world events forward towards the Second Coming’ makes his way into a circle of demonstrators.

A man holding placard claiming ‘Donald Trump is sent by Christ to move world events forward towards the Second Coming’ makes his way into a circle of demonstrators.

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 UK Labour party member and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott speaks at the 1 Day Without Us rally.

UK Labour party member and Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott speaks at the 1 Day Without Us rally.

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