London: Thousands to protest against Donald Trump's visit
Thousands of demonstrators will line the streets of London to protest against the state visit of President Donald Trump on Tuesday.
The Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, who refused to attend a state banquet on Monday evening for the president, said he will join crowds to “stand in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country”.
A huge police and security operation was under way on Tuesday morning, with protesters barred from demonstrating directly outside Downing Street and road closures in place.
Organisers of the Together Against Trump protest have billed the day a “carnival of resistance”, with demonstrators gathering at Trafalgar Square from 11am to declare a “Trump-free zone”.
Tuesday will also see the giant, orange inflatable baby Trump blimp take to the skies again after its owners reached their fundraising target and permission was granted by the Greater London Authority.
Organisers plan to fly the 20ft blimp depicting a nappy-clad president clutching a mobile phone for two hours from 10am over Trafalgar Square. A 16ft talking robot of Trump sitting on a gold toilet was also expected to make an appearance.
The protesters will include Handmaids Against Trump – women who will be draped in red with white hoods in homage to Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel about a crackdown on reproductive rights.
Climate change activists, students, pacifists, trade union members and families will also gather.
Labour’s Diane Abbott and Emily Thornberry confirmed their attendance, while the Liberal Democrats and Green party are appealing for the public to join them.
The TUC general secretary, Frances O’Grady, and Mark Serwotka, head of the Public and Commercial Services union (PCS), will also speak to the rally.
Demonstrators will not be permitted to march past Downing Street as part of Whitehall will be closed off, the Metropolitan Police confirmed. Organisers had initially planned to demonstrate outside the entrance to Downing Street as Trump held talks at No 10.
Crowds will now stop at the north end of Whitehall with a “clear view of the access to Downing Street”, and proceed to Parliament Square by an alternative route. The Metropolitan police said a “barrier plan” will be in place across part of Whitehall just north of the Women’s War Memorial.
Scotland Yard said: “Protesters will not be marching past Downing Street at any point.
“This is a multi-faceted security operation, and whilst the Met has a responsibility to ensure the right to peaceful protest, this needs to be balanced with the complex requirements of this policing plan.”
Around 250,000 anti-Trump activists gathered when he flew into the UK on 13 July last year for his first visit as US president.
Elsewhere across the UK, protests are also planned in Birmingham, Stoke, Sheffield, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Chester, Leicester, Oxford and Exeter.