Carnival of Resistance: what anti-Trump protesters have planned
Up to a million Londoners set to take to streets in series of demonstrations
Thousands of people will take to the streets in London today as part of a so-called Carnival of Resistance to demonstrate widespread anger over Donald Trump’s state visit.
Around 100,000 protesters descended on the capital last July when the president came to the UK for a “working visit”, but his return trip looks set to draw far bigger anti-Trump crowds. A new YouGov/QueenMaryLondon poll, shared with HuffPost, found that “more than one in ten of the capital’s eight million residents were poised to turn out against the US president” - which would equate to more than a million protesters.
Last year, “almost 10,000 officers were deployed for Trump’s trip to the UK, with nearly every force in the country providing staff to support the operation”, reports Sky News. This week’s three-day visit poses an even tougher security challenge, which will be overseen by “a very experienced command team”, according to the Metropolitan Police.
Demonstrators today are being joined by the Trump Baby blimp, the 20ft-tall balloon depicting the president as a baby that was first flown at the rallies last summer.
As day one of his stay drew to an end last night, Trump tweeted: “London part of trip is going really well. The Queen and the entire Royal family have been fantastic. The relationship with the United Kingdom is very strong. Tremendous crowds of well wishers and people that love our Country.
“Haven’t seen any protests yet, but I’m sure the Fake News will be working hard to find them. Great love all around. Also, big Trade Deal is possible once UK gets rid of the shackles.”
Where and when are the protests?
Demonstrators are gathering in Trafalgar Square from 11am today to declare a “Trump-free zone”.
However, police have said that the protestors will not be allowed to march past Downing Street, where Theresa May is hosting trade talks with the president, in one of her final acts as prime minister.
The protests kicked off yesterday, with crowds gathering around Buckingham Palace and on Vauxhall Bridge, where an Amnesty International banner reading “Resist Trump” was unfurled.
Amnesty will today unfurl a further four giant banners from Vauxhall Bridge, facing the US embassy, that read “Resist sexism”, “Resist racism”, “Resist hate” and “Resist cruelty”.
What do they hope to achieve?
The main protest, named Together Against Trump, is taking place in central London today. Two other groups, Stand Up To Trump and Stop Trump, are also laying on coaches to bring people to the capital from across the country.
A Stand Up To Trump spokesperson told the Daily Mail: “We will be bringing central London to a standstill. By the time he leaves he will know, and the world will know, that people here reject him and his toxic politics.”
A Stop Trump representative added: “We will make it clear to the British government it’s not OK to normalise Trump’s agenda and the fear it has sparked.”
Other protest groups taking part 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”, says The Guardian.
There will also be a “hands off our NHS” rally by medics waving placards in Parliament Square; a “chlorinated chicken” protest by people wearing Donald Trump masks outside the National Gallery; and a “get stuffed” van driving round Westminster organised by anti-fascist group Hope Not Hate.
What has Jeremy Corbyn said?
The Labour leader, who refused to attend a state banquet on Monday for the president, has tweeted that he will join the protesters today to “stand in solidarity with those he’s attacked in America, around the world and in our own country”.
Corbyn’s decision to address the rally has attracted criticism in some quarters, with the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph both leading with the story on their front pages and questioning his fitness to be PM.
But from Team Corbyn’s point of view, “it looks like a no-brainer - inserting their man into the biggest political story of the week, in his natural habitat (a street protest) and on the side of the argument backed by the vast majority of Labour voters”, says Politico’s Jack Blanchard.
And “if it wins back the sympathies of some of those Remain supporters currently flocking to the Lib Dems, so much the better”, Blanchard concludes.