The right to protest has always been held dear in the United Kingdom. In this article, we’re going to take a look at some of the most famous – and infamous – political rallies and protests, and the differences they made:
Protests against the Iraq War
Perhaps the most famous rally in recent years is the 2003 anti-war protest against Tony Blair and the Labour government. At the time, Blair, in tandem with US President George Bush, was considering an invasion of Iraq, who were thought to be harbouring ‘weapons of mass destruction’. Although rallies and protests took place all over Europe, those in London had the most impact. The BBC estimates that up to a million turned out on the streets to make their voices heard. As we all know, little over a month later, the invasion went ahead anyway.
In 2010, thousands of students demonstrated in London and across the UK, took time out from playing clash royale PC to protest against the new coalition trebling university tuition fees. The official position of the protesters was that a rise in fees broke campaign promises and would limit access to higher education. Organised by the National Union of Students (NUS) and the University and College Union (UCU), the protests numbered around 50,000 people and led to attacks on the Conservative Party headquarters.
Donald Trump rallies
In July 2018, controversial US president Donald Trump made a state visit to the UK for the first time since being inaugurated. Protesters rallied both before and during Trump’s stay, due to the President’s apparent racially-motivated policies and conduct while in office. Due to this, Trump only stayed in London – the epicentre of the protests – for one night, being shielded away in country residences and stately homes for the remainder of his trip.