Anti-Trump protesters get the nod from London Mayor Sadiq Khan to fly giant 'angry baby Trump' balloon ahead of his visit
Nearly 50,000 people are expected to rally from the BBC building in Portland Place to Trafalgar Square as part of the 'Stop Trump' protest.
London mayor Sadiq Khan, on Thursday, granted permission for a giant balloon of President Donald Trump — depicting him as an angry baby — to be flown near the UK Parliament during the Republican's first official visit to the country next week.
Reports state that the 20ft inflatable, called "Trump Baby" will fly above Parliament Square Gardens for nearly two hours on the morning of July 13, Friday. Initially, the Mayor's office was opposed to the idea and said that they did not recognize it as a legitimate protest, however sensing the public support the activists had they were then given the nod.
President Trump is scheduled to visit the UK on Thursday next week for a three-day trip after flying in from the NATO summit in Brussels. His trip would likely include a dinner with business figures at Blenheim Palace, meeting the Queen at Windsor and talks with Theresa May at her country retreat in Chequers.
Trump could also possibly visit his golf courses in Scotland during the trip. Reports state that the US President's travel schedule is being structured in a manner which ensures that he avoids London and the expected protests against him in the capital. Massive demonstrations are expected to be held next week in London on the first day of Trump's arrival in the country. The US President had canceled his previously planned trip to the country fearing violent protests.
Nearly 50,000 people are expected to rally from the BBC building in Portland Place to Trafalgar Square as part of the 'Stop Trump' protest, according to the Daily Mail. Reports state that the organization behind the Trump baby balloon has raised over £17,000 through a crowdfunding website to pay for expenses for the inflatable and also to take it on a "world tour."
Activists said that over 10,000 people signed a petition calling for the "baby Trump" inflatable to be given permission to fly. The group said: "If we can troll Donald from the skies wherever he goes for long enough, he'll start seeing "TrumpBaby" in his dreams." A spokesman for the Nona Hurkmans group, which is behind the protest, said: “We are just a small group of friends who set out to use humor to take a stand against the rise of racist and fascist politics both here in the UK and over in the US.
It's not the group only, even the UK's top industrialists and business owners have also expressed their unwillingness to meet the US President. According to reports, nearly 150 business heads have been extended invitations to attend a black-tie gathering in Oxfordshire. The event will be hosted by Prime Minister Theresa May. However, multiple leaders have turned down the invitation stating that they do not wish to entertain Trump.
The guest list includes Emma Walmsley, who runs GlaxoSmithKline; Steve Varley, EY Chairman and Managing Partner for the UK and Ireland; Richard Gnodde, chief executive of Goldman Sachs International; and Paul Polman of Unilever. Lastminute.com co-founder Baroness Lane-Fox also turned down the invitation. "I understand why the government has to entertain Trump but I certainly don't want to," she said, according to the Financial Times.
Trump and the London mayor have repeatedly clashed in the past over the Muslim community and terrorism in the capital. The US President, last year in June, had accused Khan of having a "pathetic" response to the London Bridge terror attack. Trump had tweeted:"At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack and Mayor of London says there is 'no reason to be alarmed!"
Trump critics, however, pointed out that Khan said that the residents should not be alarmed at the increased police presence in the region.
The London Mayor, earlier this year, spoke about Trump's visit and possible protests and said: "I think there will be protests, I speak to Londoners every day of the week and I think they will use the rights they have to express their freedom of speech. But they must be peaceful, they must be lawful."
"As the Mayor of London it's probably inappropriate for me to join a protest when foreign leaders come into the UK. It's important though for me not to be scared to express my views about some of the things he's said," Khan continued. "It's ironic that the architect of the hostile environment policy in this country has invited the architect of the hostile environment policy in the USA to London," the mayor added.