'Together Against Trump': British gather in thousands to protest U.S. president

Demonstrators against Donald Trump's visit to Britain raised a giant inflatable over London on Friday, representing the U.S. president as a baby holding a mobile phone.

Chanting “Donald Trump has got to go,” tens of thousands of protesters marched through London on Friday waving banners and banging pots to demonstrate against the U.S. president on his first official visit to Britain.

Under a brilliant blue sky, demonstrators streamed through central London’s main streets carrying placards saying “Dump Trump,” and “Keep your tiny hands off women’s rights.” Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the throng.

IN PICTURES: Protests in London during Trump’s U.K. visit 

Demonstrators protesting against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, hold up placards in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Demonstrators protesting against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, hold up placards in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

A placard is held aloft during a demonstration against the visit of Donald Trump, outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

A placard is held aloft during a demonstration against the visit of Donald Trump, outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Protesters, from a number of different groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Protesters, from a number of different groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman

People inflate a helium-filled Donald Trump blimp which they hope to deploy during the president's upcoming visit, in London, Britain, June 26, 2018.

People inflate a helium-filled Donald Trump blimp which they hope to deploy during the president's upcoming visit, in London, Britain, June 26, 2018.

REUTERS/Simon Dawson/File Photo
Human rights group Amnesty International drop a banner from Vauxhall Bridge opposite the U.S. Embassy protesting against President Donald Trump's visit to the U.K. on July 12, 2018 in London. The president and first lady Melania Trump, have arrived for their first official visit. They will have dinner at Blenheim Palace, visit Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and take tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Human rights group Amnesty International drop a banner from Vauxhall Bridge opposite the U.S. Embassy protesting against President Donald Trump's visit to the U.K. on July 12, 2018 in London. The president and first lady Melania Trump, have arrived for their first official visit. They will have dinner at Blenheim Palace, visit Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and take tea with the Queen at Windsor Castle. Chris J Ratcliffe/Getty Images

Organizers said 250,000 people were protesting in London and other demonstrations were expected in cities around the country, including Windsor where the U.S. president was due to have tea with the Queen.

“Lock him in the tower,” one homemade placard said there, just yards from where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in May.

READ MORE: Donald Trump arrives in ‘hot spot’ U.K. amid protests, Brexit turmoil

Police, who declined to put a number on the size of the demonstration, had sealed off parts of London including Piccadilly and Regent Street for marchers, while thousands filled Trafalgar Square to hear speeches.

Aerials of tens of thousands of protesters gathered for demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump in London.

Aerials of tens of thousands of protesters gathered for demonstration against U.S. President Donald Trump in London.

Reuters

Trump is not welcome in Britain,” said Grish Gregoran, 58, a shopkeeper who took the day off to attend the protests.

“We wanted to embarrass him and I think we have done that today. We know how sensitive he is. It is horrible to hear the inflammatory language that he uses and I am embarrassed that Theresa May has done so much to welcome him.”

WATCH: Mass protests form as Trump begins visit to U.K.

“Dump Trump”

London regards its “special relationship” with the United States as a keystone of foreign policy and May has courted Trump ahead of Britain’s departure from the European Union.

But some Britons see the U.S. leader as crude, volatile, unreliable and opposed to their values on a range of issues. Those demonstrating against Trump included women’s rights campaigners, supporters of immigration and LGBTQ groups.

WATCH BELOW: Protester flies over Trump Turnberry in Scotland

“Here, queer and angry,” said one banner. “Immigration is not a crime,” said another.

“Our message to our government and our prime minister is: ‘We don’t want a special relationship with bigots,'” Len McCluskey, the head of the country’s biggest trade union, told Reuters.

Activists kicked off the demonstrations on Friday by floating a six-metre-high (20-ft) blimp outside Parliament depicting the U.S. president as a snarling orange baby.


READ MORE:
Trump says angry baby blimp flying over London makes him feel ‘unwelcome’

Trump told the Sun newspaper he was avoiding the capital as much as possible.

“I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London,” he said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has clashed repeatedly with Trump on Twitter, defended the demonstrations as free speech.

“The idea that we restrict freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to protest because somebody might be offended is a slippery slope,” Khan told BBC Radio.

WATCH: London protester dresses as Trump in gorilla suit behind bars

Khan said pro-Trump supporters would march on Saturday, although some were present on Friday, separated from the main demonstration by police.

A small group of pro-Trump supporters waved the U.S. flag alongside the Union Jack, chanting, “We want Trump,” and “Trump for 2020.”

President Trump supporters join protesters gathering at the gates of Blenheim Palace where U.S. President Donald Trump is due to visit for dinner in Woodstock on July 12, in Oxfordshire, England.

President Trump supporters join protesters gathering at the gates of Blenheim Palace where U.S. President Donald Trump is due to visit for dinner in Woodstock on July 12, in Oxfordshire, England.

Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images

Charlie Moffitt, a 16-year-old student who was wearing a red “Make America Great Again” cap, said: “At a time when we are leaving the European Union, we need to be close to our most important ally.”

After meeting with the Queen, Trump headed to Scotland for the weekend, where a Greenpeace protester continued to follow him.

© 2018 Reuters

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