VIDEO: Leeds protesters opposed to Trump's immigration policies take to streets

Protesters gather in Leeds to demonstrate against President Trump's immigration policies and his planned state visit to the UK.
Protesters gather in Leeds to demonstrate against President Trump's immigration policies and his planned state visit to the UK.

A demonstration has been held in Leeds today in opposition to immigration policies introduced by US president Donald Trump.

Organised by Leeds Stand Up to Racism and Leeds Momentum, the peaceful protest attracted more than 1,000 people.

Crowds gathered in Dortmund Square to hear from speakers before marching through the city centre carrying banners and placards.

They chanted messages including: "No hate. No Fear. Refugees are welcome here."

The group were objecting to Mr Trump's upcoming state visit to the UK and to the restrictions he has placed on citizens of several countries with a history of terrorism from entering the US.

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A statement on the event's Facebook page said: "As Donald Trump announces restrictions on Muslims and Theresa May holds his hand we are gathering to say #neveragain #noMuslimban. Standing up to their racism and Islamophobia is crucial - join us in Dortmund Square Monday to add our voices to the worldwide outrage at this disgusting racist ideology."

In a message read out to those gathered, Leeds East MP Richard Burgon said: "I am in Parliament today but I welcome the news that the protests taking place across the USA against Donald Trump's dangerous immigration ban is finding solidarity in protests here at Downing St in London and at events around the UK, including in the centre of Leeds this evening.

"I am also pleased that the petition urging a State Visit invite to be dropped, which has gained over one million signatures since this weekend, was launched by someone from Leeds."

He said Mr Trump had offended millions with policies announced in his first few days as president.

"Trump is sowing division across the world with his divisive and racist policies," he said.

"What we in Leeds and across the UK need to stand up for is a politics that puts ordinary people first, delivers decent living standards for ordinary working people, and doesn't divide them because of their ethnicity or religion."

Coun Javaid Akhtar (Hyde Park and Woodhouse) told the crowd: "The reason I am here not as a councillor but as an individual is to thank you for standing with me as a Muslim."

He said Mr Trump's immigration policies were "absolutely disgraceful".

"We need every single organisation in this country to stand shoulder to shoulder and fight against racism," he added.

Marvina Newton, of Leeds Black Lives Matter, said: "Enough is enough. People wonder why we all need to speak out today. They come for the Muslims today, they're coming for us next."

She said failing to speak up in opposition to divisive policies was an act of complicity, before leading the crowd in chants of "Silence is consent", "Refugees welcome anywhere" and "Muslim lives matter".

WATCH: See our Facebook Live broadcast from the protest

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