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“Build bridges, not walls,” urge protesters

Banners emblazoned with political messages swept across the world today, in response to today’s US presidential inauguration.

The activists dropped a 25 metre banner with the words ‘Build Bridges Not Walls,’ from Tower Bridge before similar banners were rolled out on every major bridge through to Vauxhall, bearing a diverse range of political messages.

The London demonstration was organised by the Bridges Not Walls campaign group, a coalition of grassroots activists and campaigners, with similar protests taking place across the world.

‘No to silence on UK violence #BlackLivesMatter’ was splashed across London Bridge, while ‘There is no Planet B’ was unveiled from Blackfriars Bridge.

Over 150 protest banners were dropped from iconic bridges across four continents, in countries as far reaching as Ethiopia, Australia, the USA and Norway. The UK alone saw 130 actions take place.

Spokesperson Nona Hurkmans said: “We won’t let the politics of hate peddled by the likes of Donald Trump take hold. What happens next is up to us and by standing together we can show that the rhetoric of fear and hate have no place in our society.”

Bridges Not Walls formed following Donald Trump’s election, over fears about the rise of far right politics in the USA, UK and Europe.

The group openly invited supporters across the world to take to bridges and share their own political messages to send a “simple, hopeful and unmistakeable message.”

Migrants Organise, a group working towards power dignity and justice for migrants and refugees, supported today’s action, and say they are standing in solidarity with colleagues and friends in the USA.

Chief executive Zrinka Bralo said: “The emergence of neo-Nazis and white supremacists is scary; the attempt to normalise what is going on is even scarier. We have the responsibility to fight against attempts to divide us.”

Bridges Not Walls was created by Will Stevens, an ice cream man and homeless shelter worker, who was inspired by the famous words of Martin Luther King Jr. Reacting to Trump’s election, he spawned the idea of a banner drop from iconic bridges.

The concept quickly gained momentum, with other existing activists and large campaign organisations agreeing to take part.

The group has as its motto: “We will build bridges, not walls, to a peaceful and just world rid of oppression and hatred.”

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