With the shock election of Donald Trump as president of the United States there has been a huge amount of protests worldwide to show solidarity with the oppressed in the States. There have been protests against his sexist views with the Woman’s March and the announcement of the ridiculous Muslim travel ban sparked outrage with protests worldwide.
Scotland is not one to shy away from protesting and in the words of SNP MP Mhairi Black us in Scotland ‘like a wee protest’ and so we do. His love for Scotland is definitely not reciprocated by us Scots. Here a few of my personal favourites x
However one of my favourite stories of Scottish solidarity was at the time of the South African apartheid regime and Nelson Mandela’s imprisonment. Glasgow had activists that demanded the end of segregation in South Africa from the 1960s onwards. Mandela was recognised as a hero for those on the Left but those on the Right, then Tory Prime Minister Margarent Thatcher, former Tory PM David Cameron and House of Commons speaker John Bercow, all seen him as a terrorist and called for him to be hanged.
The people of Glasgow did not hold these views and the then Lord Provost Michael Kelly gave Nelson Mandela the freedom of the city, making Glasgow the first city in the world to recognise Mandela as a free man in 1981.
In 1986 Glasgow further showed their solidarity to Mandela as they renamed St George’s Place to Nelson Mandela Place. This may not seem like a big thing but that very street was where the South African Consulate General was based who now had to sign their address with the country’s most famous political prisoner! Mandela came to Glasgow in 1993 to thank both the city and Scotland for their solidarity, he stated that;
‘whilst we were physically denied our freedom in the country of our birth, a city, 6000 miles away, and as renowned as Glasgow, refused to accept the legitimacy of the apartheid system and declared us to be free’ (Scotsman, 2013)
The only way I can describe these protests is that of being ‘gallus’, the Scottish word meaning cheeky, bold and daring. I love seeing the humour on the hundreds of signs at protests but we must remember to not forget the importance of showing international solidarity especially in today’s world.