You can quietly sit in class, but you can also stand up and protest Trump. A group of students from Nijmegen chose the second option. What did they want to achieve in The Hague?
Lara de Graaf and Mathilde de Groot, medicine students
Mathilde: ‘I protested in high school once, but I don’t remember against what. Something changed in the education system. So this is the first time I am properly going to protest.’
Lara: ‘Yes, for me as well. When I watched the news yesterday, I thought the world had gone mad. Donald Tusk (president of the European Council, ed.) said that Europe is now under China’s, Russia’s ISIS’ and America’s threat. You can’t do much by yourself, but this protest might make the news.’
Mathilde: ‘The most important thing for us is to stand up agains racism. That’s why we chose to write that on our sign.’
Yesterday, a bus drove from the Grotius building on campus to the Malieveld in The Hague. Everybody who wanted to protest president Trump and other far-right politicians was invited to get on the bus. Law student Mienke de Wilde arranged the bus – she paid for it out of her own pocket. More than 60 people went with her.
Julian Wisse, psychology student
‘I want to make my voice heard directly. America’s politics always influence everything around them. Our elections as well. Throughout Europe, the far-right is on the rise and history teaches us what can come from that. I have never been to a protest before. I have always felt like it was about percentages before, and now everything is just changing so rapidly. Going to The Hague feels better than staying at home. I don’t know if it will change something, of course, but reason and facts are also not working anymore. Politics are going through the same change as they did before the Second World War, and we have to do something.’
Samira Hussein, International Business Administration student
‘After my class today I have made the last-minute decision to get on the bus. Protesting Trump is just common sense. I am a black woman, a muslim and I wear a headscarf. For me, it makes sense not too agree with Trump. We have to keep 1938 in the back of our heads. People joke about it and say that it will not happen again, but we can never be sure. I don’t know what this protest can do, but silence is consent. People who stayed silent have helped Trump become president, because they thought he was crazy. That’s why I got on this bus.’
An impression of the bus trip and the rally: