Massive protests against Trump in London. Photo: Reuters
London, July 14 (RHC)-- Tens of thousands filled the streets of downtown London on Friday to vent their anger over Donald Trump’s first official visit to Britain, blowing horns, waving banners and hoisting a bright orange effigy of the U.S. president.
Marchers strongly criticized Trump’s policies on immigration, climate change and torture, as well as his treatment of women. Some carried more than one sign, unable to choose which policy they hated the most.
As Trump met with Prime Minister Theresa May at her country retreat outside the city, the protesters gathered outside embassies, offices and homes carrying signs that read: “Human rights have no border,” and “Mother Earth unites us,” before marching past the shops of Regent’s Street on their way to Piccadilly Circus and finally Trafalgar Square, which the city calls a “center of national democracy and protest.”
Trump criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who refused to prevent the balloon from flying, in an interview published Friday.
“I think he has not been hospitable to a government that is very important,” Trump told Britain’s Sun newspaper. “Now, he might not like the current president, but I represent the United States. I also represent a lot of people in Europe, because a lot of people from Europe are in the United States.”
Khan, who has been a target of Trump’s ire before, said his job was to make sure the protests were peaceful, not to be a censor or the “arbiter of good taste.”
“The idea that I would stop a blimp or a balloon flying over London because it may cause offense, and thereby curtail the rights people have to protest when it’s not unsafe, it’s not un-peaceful, I think people would find a bit astonishing,” Khan told the BBC.
Trump avoided the protests by largely staying away from the capital. After a black-tie dinner 100 kilometers outside London, he spent Thursday night at the U.S. ambassador’s residence in Regents Park, then flew by helicopter to May’s country retreat, Chequers, for his meeting with the prime minister, followed by another flight to Windsor Palace for tea with Queen Elizabeth II.
He then headed for Scotland, where he was to spend the weekend at one of his private golf clubs. Ahead of Trump’s arrival, hundreds of people gathered in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, to protest the U.S. president’s U.K. visit.
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