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'We must stay vigilant': Defiant anti-Trump rally in Paris

Louise Nordstrom, FRANCE 24 | Anti-Trump protesters hold their placards aloft at the foot of the Eiffel Tower in Paris on November 19, 2016.

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the French capital in a show of defiance on Saturday amid anxiety over what Donald Trump’s election to the White House will entail for immigrants, minority groups and women.


Carrying pots and pans, banners and other anti-Trump gear, demonstrators chanted “No Trump, no hate, no KKK” and “Hey hey, ho ho, Donald Trump has got to go” as they set off on a near three-hour march that took them past the iconic Eiffel Tower.

The event was organised by the “Paris Against Trump” Facebook group in the wake of the startling November 8 election result, which saw the billionaire tycoon clinch the White House despite losing the popular vote.

Saturday’s march aimed to unite Americans, French and other nationals who oppose Trump’s agenda and fear it will turn back the clock on progress for minorities.

“In the face of an impending Trump presidency, we cannot be complacent. We must roll up our sleeves and mobilise,” the group said in its manifesto ahead of the protest.

“We must show our willingness to fight for the protection of our rights and democratic ideals. We must say NO to racism, misogyny, Islamophobia, homophobia and transphobia, anti-Semitism, ableism, xenophobia and white nationalism. We must counter his hate with messages of tolerance, solidarity and love,” the group added.

While organisers said they expected around 1,000 people to attend the Paris rally – which follows similar demonstrations in Berlin, Brussels and London – police were more conservative in their estimates, saying “several hundred” participants took part.

Amy Layton, a 22-year-old American teaching assistant living in Paris, said she joined the rally because she felt Trump’s win was “unjust and undemocratic”, referring to the Electoral College system that handed the Republican candidate a victory over Hillary Clinton.

“And he’s played on the fears and hatred of the American people,” Layton told FRANCE 24. She added that by rallying in Paris and other cities, demonstrators meant to “show that there’s solidarity across the world” for groups that feel threatened by Trump.

Leah Kimball, 21, one of the organisers of the demonstration, said the rally gave “a collective voice to the people targeted by Donald Trump’s hate”.

“There is a power in numbers,” she added, carrying a “Pussy is powerful” sign – a reference to Trump’s infamous boast about grabbing women “by the pussy”.

Emily Lechner, a 32-year-old English teacher from Montana in the United States, said she attended the march to express her solidarity and draw comfort from others.

“A lot of people say that we just need to accept this [election result] now, but I don’t think we can or should accept it,” she said. “Neither should we tell ourselves that Trump is a normal person. Because he isn’t and we need to stay super vigilant.”

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