A group of around 100 Oxford students, tutors, families and local activists joined the ‘Women’s March on London’ yesterday, organised as part of a global coalition of resistance against the Trump presidency, and for, “the protection of our fundamental rights and for the safeguarding of our freedoms”.
The group marched under a banner reading, “Those who do not move, do not notice their chains. OXFORD RISES”, a quote from feminist revolutionary Rosa Luxemburg.
Members of Oxford’s longest running acapella group the Alternotives led chants such as, “tell me what democracy looks like? this is what democracy looks like!”, and, “back up back up, we want freedom, freedom, all these racist sexist systems, we don’t need ’em, need ’em,” as the protesters walked from the US Embassy in Grosvenor Square to a rally in Trafalgar Square.
Miriam Stewart, one of the organisers of the Oxford Block, told Cherwell: “I marched today because I believe in the absolute importance of respecting and preserving basic human rights.
“I marched today because I believe in absolute equality for all. I marched because I believe we should all be supported and enabled in living lives of dignity. I marched in solidarity with my sisters and non-binary siblings who find their already vulnerable freedoms even further under threat during a Trump presidency.
“I marched for the preservation of our planet. I marched for the beauty and joy in our vibrant and diverse communities. I marched for all those who were not able to march.”
She described the atmosphere in London as “empowering”, where an estimated 100,000 protesters took to the streets to register their anger with America’s new administration.
Hundreds of thousands marched across the United States, including around half a million in Washington DC. The protest there was notably larger than the crowd for Trump’s inauguration the previous day.
Members of the Oxford Block had met that morning at the Iffley Road squat to produce banners, working alongside its homeless residents. Henry—a homeless artist usually found selling his work at the Woodstock Road bus stop—painted a depiction of Oxford’s skyline on the ‘Oxford Rises’ banner.
Further Oxford residents, unable to travel to London, established their own protest in Oxford as a show of solidarity, attracting several dozen people. The group marched down Broad Street from the Carfax tower to the Sheldonian Theatre, chanting, “build bridges not walls”.
Sophie Scott, an organiser, told the Oxford Mail: “I just felt impassioned and motivated by the march in London.
“I felt like we needed to balance out some of the more radical language that has been used lately and add humanity and acceptance into the way we talk to each other.”
The organisers of the Oxford contingent now intend to continue to work towards, “[the] liberation of people and preservation of planet, and how we can support and stand in solidarity with our American friends both in Oxford and in the USA!”