Protests as President meets Queen

More than 100,000 people took to the streets of London on Friday afternoon to protest against Donald Trump's first visit to the UK as US President.

By Amit Roy
  • Published 14.07.18
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Activists inflate a huge balloon showing Trump as an orange baby in London on Friday. (AFP)

London: More than 100,000 people took to the streets of London on Friday afternoon to protest against Donald Trump's first visit to the UK as US President.

Politicians including former deputy Prime Minister Sir Nick Clegg and ex-Labour leader Ed Miliband were among those taking part.

Clegg said Trump's latest actions had motivated him to join the march. He tweeted: "Right, I'm going on the anti-Trump demo. I had no intention to but his crazed attacks on the EU, Nato, and WTO have changed things.

"Plus his best UK pals are Nigel Farage, Boris Johnson and Piers Morgan. He dislikes everything I believe in and believes in everyone I dislike! Donald Trump has every right to visit. We have every right to say he's wrong."

In Windsor, the Queen, ever the professional, smiled warmly as she greeted the President and his wife, Melania.

The trio then stood as the Coldstream Guards band played the Star-Spangled Banner, before Trump joined the Queen for an inspection of the troops. The Duke of Edinburgh was not present.

A guard stood before Trump and the Queen, before lifting and lowering a sword. The President twice mouthed the words: "Thank you."

The Queen then escorted Trump and Melania inside for tea, cake, and scones with jam and clotted cream to end what had probably been the worst day in Anglo-American relations in decades.

In London, meanwhile, actress Laura Carmichael, who played Lady Edith Crawley in Downton Abbey - it was announced on Friday that the hugely popular TV series is to be made into a feature film - held a banner which read "End Violence Against Women".

Lucy Guy, 41, a Nottingham-born TV comedy writer who lives in Hackney, east London, said: "There are so many reasons to dislike Trump and one of them is that he is a massive misogynist."

Actress Samantha Bond, who has played Miss Moneypenny in James Bond movies, tweeted her support for the march: "Donald Trump has devastated funding for women's health in the poorest countries, refuses asylum to women fleeing domestic violence + is undermining human rights worldwide."

Trump himself, who was taking tea with the Queen in Windsor, was kept away from the protests and also did not see a 20 foot blimp caricaturing him as an angry orange baby flown over Parliament Square.

Brett Kirchner, 25, from North Carolina, said: "As an American, I think it's great. It's a peaceful way of protesting and there are a lot of people who agree with it.

"Back home in the States, there will be some who are very upset about this protest and who think it's insulting. I have been asked to send photos back though, not everyone likes Trump."

The homemade banner proudly held by Emily Darnell, 40, an executive assistant from Haywards Heath near Brighton, read: "Super Callous Fragile Racist Sexist Nazi Potus."

She said: "Trump is just a vile, vile man so I felt really motivated to come here."

James O'Brien, from Co Mayo, was selling Trump toilet paper at Oxford Circus which was attracting amused passers-by.

Messages on placards included "This is our carnival of resistance", "No Fan of Fake Tan Man", "How Dare You Combover here" and "Trump Stinks".

Inge Kjemtrup, chairwoman of Democrats Abroad, said she felt it was "extremely exciting" to be an American in London and seeing so many people come out in protest against the US president.

She said: "These people are objecting to Trump and his policies. His policies are anti-immigration, anti-health and harmful. They are protesting all the horrible things he is doing to divide people on all kinds of grounds such as religious.

"We want to let overseas Americans know they should vote in the mid-terms to do something about it."

While London had the Trump blimp, Windsor saw demonstrators holding a sea of colourful placards with one saying: "Beware Ma'am He's a Sociopath."

Jenni Collins, 36, said: "I especially feel for the poor old Queen having to have him to tea."

Holding a homemade placard which said "Equality Diversity No Trump For Tea!" she added: "It's the level of lies and distortion he puts out of his mouth and is picked up and taken as truth I find most disturbing, and obviously his stance against diversity, equality, racism and immigration."

Beverley Williams, 40, who had a royal-themed placard, "Off With His Head", said she was glad "it's not a full state visit because he doesn't deserve that level of care. I thought Blenheim Place was a bit over the top."

There were isolated small pockets of Trump supporters but they were vastly outnumbered by the protestors.

Campaigners have confirmed they plan to transport the blimp to Scotland overnight on the sleeper train and fly it at a protest near the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh on Saturday. The president will be spending nearly two days playing golf on the course he owns in Turnberry before leaving to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki for a summit on Monday.