More than 2,000 people packed into Pinstone Street, spilling along Leopold Street and Fargate in a rally organised in little more than 24 hours to protest against the Muslim Ban in the US and Theresa May’s utterly inadequate response to it.
It was one of at least 26 protests around the country tonight, with reports of well over 30,000 people in London.
In my speech I focused on the spread and the size of that reach – from Preston to Plymouth, from Leeds to London.
I said: “Donald Trump, you live in a world that believes in human rights and democracy, that rejects discrimination and racism, and that will not condone your actions.
“That reflects the response of Canada, the response of Germany,the response of France. Yes the best that Theresa May could come up with, as she stood in Turkey, having just sold fighter jets to a regime with an extremely disturbing record on human rights, could say was effectively ‘No comment’.
“The turnout tonight, around the country and around America against the Muslim and refugee ban is a demonstration of the possibility of change, the possibility of building bridges not walls, creating a new society in which we truly are all in it together on this one, fragile planet, looking out for each other, caring for each year.
“Donald Trump is the logical end point – and I do mean end – of the era of Margaret Thatcher and Ronald Reagan, a political philosophy of greed and exploitation, of the interests of the 1% ruling those of the 99%.
“It is time for something new, something different, it it time for hope.”
There were many wonderful hand-drawn banners in the crowd last night, and in my speech I drew attention to this one in particular: Where’s your moral compass Mrs May?” A very good question.
And it was clear that this placard spoke very much for the crowd last night, which cheered most loudly at each mention of the phrase “refugees welcome”. Sheffield, the first official City of Sanctuary in Britain, said it, and meant it last night.
Update: I learnt after the rally that Theresa May had been warned by Trump – during that excruciating visit involving handholding that made her look like a small child being taken to the park – that the ban was coming, which makes her response in Turkey even more astonishingly more clearly inept and indefensible.