Massive Anti-Trump Protests in Britain

In protests in some 50 cities, Britons marched against US President Donald Trump, accusing him of torture, misogyny, racism and bigotry
Massive Anti-Trump Protests in Britain Massive Anti-Trump Protests in Britain

Tens of thousands of people marched in central London in the first wave of a whirlwind of protests against the visit of US president Donald Trump, accusing him of torture, misogyny and racism.

Carrying placards reading "Dump Trump", and "Can't comb over sexism," joyous crowds blew whistles before starting from Portland Place heading toward Oxford Circus, AP reported.

Phil Bond, 65, a musician, says he knows that it is unlikely that the demonstrations will make any difference to the president, but he believes people in the United States will notice. He says he just wants to add "my little drop of water to the 50 gallons."

Many protesters used humor to convey their opposition. One sign read "Trump wears poorly tailored suits," while another proclaimed, "Overcomb Brexit". One man was selling rolls of "Trump toilet paper" emblazoned with a picture of the president

More protests took place in Windsor, where the Trumps met the British queen later, and in Scotland, where the US president plans to spend the weekend at one of his golf courses.

>Baby Blimp

Hundreds of people in London crowded under a balloon depicting Trump as a screaming baby as protests across the UK accompanying the US president's arrival got underway.

Some 16 balloon minders in yellow vests identifying themselves as "babysitters" minded lead lines to the 6-meter inflatable as the curious gawked and took pictures.

The diaper-clad balloon infant, with a quiff of hair and a mobile phone for tweeting, soared Friday over the Houses of Parliament in London. It was the centerpiece of demonstrations across the country protesting Trump's policies on issues ranging from immigration and race relations to women and climate change.

Kevin Smith, one of the 16 people behind the balloon, says "this is what people need to be doing—to come together in their communities to organize and work out how to stand against right wing populism and xenophobia that we are seeing not just in the US but in Europe."

Protest organizers staged demonstrations in some 50 cities around the UK.

>Diplomatic Whiplash

A day after landing a series of broadsides against his British hosts, Trump declared Friday that his relationship with Prime Minister Theresa May was better than ever in yet another bout of diplomatic whiplash that has come to define the American president's European visit.

Trump's pomp-filled visit to the United Kingdom was overshadowed by an explosive interview in which he blasted May, his host, blamed London's mayor for terror attacks against the city and argued that Europe was "losing its culture" because of immigration.

He tried to downplay the fallout as he sat next to May for a meeting at Chequers, her official country house. He said they spent about 90 minutes talking at dinner Thursday and claimed they "probably never developed a better relationship than last night."

"The relationship is very strong," Trump insisted, skirting questions about the Sun interview. Trump said in the interview, published Thursday as May feted him at an opulent welcome dinner at a country palace, that he felt unwelcome in London because of protests.

Interviewed before he left Brussels for the UK, Trump accused May of ruining what her country stands to gain from its Brexit vote to leave the European Union. He said her former foreign secretary, Boris Johnson, would make an "excellent" prime minister, speaking just days after Johnson resigned his position in protest over May's Brexit plans.

Trump added that May's "soft" blueprint for the UK's future dealings with the EU would probably "kill" any future trade deals with the United States.

"If they do a deal like that, we would be dealing with the European Union instead of dealing with the UK, so it will probably kill the deal," Trump told the paper.

Trump, who has linked his own election to the June 2016 referendum in which a slim majority of British voters supported leaving the EU, complained, "The deal she is striking is a much different deal than the one the people voted on."

He also told the tabloid that he had shared advice with May during Britain's negotiations with the EU and she ignored it.

The controversy shadowed Trump across Britain, much like the 6-meter tall balloon depicting him as an angry baby that flew for a few hours in London during his visit.

>Detested in London

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," he told The Sun, which is owned by his media ally, Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News in the United States.

Trump has been traveling by helicopter to avoid the protests in central London. After meeting with May, a scheduled joint news conference was to be dominated by the fallout from the interview before he visited Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle.

The interview was the latest breach of diplomatic protocol by Trump, whose predecessors tended to avoid criticizing their foreign hosts.

On Thursday night, hundreds of demonstrators chanted outside the US ambassador's residence in London, where Trump was staying, providing a preview of the forceful protests expected Friday.

Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the baby Trump balloon.

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