PROTESTERS stormed the Trump International Golf Links in Balmedie yesterday to make a stand against the man they described as “the world’s most prominent racist”.
The peaceful demonstration, organised by new left-wing alliance Rise, took place inside the lobby of Donald Trump’s luxury hotel on the Menie Estate in Aberdeenshire yesterday afternoon.
Activists held signs such as “Scotland loves Muslims” aloft, while others waved Mexican flags in protest at the US presidential candidate’s recent comments branding Mexican immigrants rapists.
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After being asked to leave by staff, the group stayed in the lobby for about 45 minutes, chanting and showcasing their signs until the police arrived and they vacated the building. While the group of 20 people occupied the hotel lobby, a static protest also took place at Trump's Turnberry course.
A similar-sized group of protesters met at the new hotel development site at the famous South Ayrshire course, draping a “Dump Trump” banner over the “Trump Turnberry” entrance plaque. The protests came on the eve of the Westminster debate on whether to ban Trump from the UK, which will take place today.
The debate was called after a petition calling for the 69-year-old to be blocked from entering the UK on grounds of “hate speech” gathered more than 550,000 signatures, in the wake of his recent comments about Muslims. Since the campaign for the Republican candidacy for US president began, Trump has been under fire for countless controversial statements, including labelling Mexicans “criminals and rapists”, mocking a disabled journalist and encouraging the US Army to commit war crimes against Daesh.
Rise Member Jack Ferguson, who organised yesterday’s “Rise against Trump” protests, said he was hopeful that the demonstrations would reach Trump himself, adding that it was important the people of Scotland made their voices heard.
Ferguson said: “We were there to send a message that as long as he continues to make such outrageously racist statements, then his businesses and his business interests will be sites for protest. When the police arrived we made sure they knew it was a peaceful protest and we made our intentions clear. We made sure to let the staff know that this was nothing to do with them, it was about sending a message to Trump.
“Hopefully he takes notice of what we did today," the 32-year-old added. "If he continues down the same path then we will continue our campaign to oppose his racism.”
Police Scotland confirmed that no arrests were made at the scene and no criminality was involved. Protestors said the staff and police dealt with them perfectly reasonably. The Ayrshire protest also passed without incident and lasted just in excess of half an hour, before demonstrators were moved on.
A spokesperson for Rise said the group were expressing their opposition to Trump’s “commercial presence in Scotland”.
“We did this because we are fully committed to confronting racism in all its forms, because we stand in solidarity with American minority groups targeted by Trump’s rhetoric, and because we believe that Trump’s association with Scotland is damaging to our country’s national reputation,” the spokesperson said. “Donald Trump needs to know that he is not welcome in Scotland.”
The three-hour debate on Trump is scheduled to take place in the House of Commons today alongside a debate on the counter petition calling for the business tycoon to be welcomed, which has received far fewer signatures.