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LONDON — If President Donald Trump was in any doubt about the welcome he would receive during his visit to Britain, one glance out of his helicopter window shortly after he arrived would have told him everything.
Hours earlier, he had claimed: “I think they like me a lot in the U.K.”
But as Marine One thundered into the London sky later Thursday night, gathered below were several hundred protesters armed with pots, pans, drums, horns, whistles, megaphones and placards daubed with messages of varying profanity.
Their message was chanted over and over. “F*** Trump, F*** Trump, F*** Trump,” they yelled, all the while making a din with their improvised instruments.
The protest was held at a temporary security fence around the U.S. ambassador’s Winfield House residence, where Trump is staying during his four-day visit.
It was just the beginning.
Dozens of anti-Trump demonstrations kicked off across the United Kingdom Friday, and will continue over the weekend.
The largest is a march through central London will culminate in a huge rally in Trafalgar Square that is expected to attract tens of thousands of people on Friday night.
Another protest saw a 20-foot blimp in the shape of an orange baby featuring Trump’s face tethered to float above the Houses of Parliament.
Friday’s central London marches kicked off with the women-led Bring The Noise demonstration.
Several thousand people carried orange and pink placards and balloons with slogans including “Dump Trump” and “Stop Trump.”
Chants drowned out the sound of helicopters overhead, as hundreds of police waited and watched from side streets.
Teacher Ruth Coles, 37, was among those gathering at the start of the rally with her daughters Isla, 5, and Aisling, 7 months.
“It’s my first demonstration. My friend goes to protests a lot and she said that when ordinary people start protesting, you know it’s time for things to change,” the Londoner said. “I want to show that it’s good to be a girl.”
Miatta Marke, 43, has also come to the march with her daughter, 17-year-old Ambah.
“This is a reaction against the misogyny that’s evident in everything his administration does,” Miatta said. “I thought it was important to bring my daughter today so we could be on the right side of history and not just screaming at the television.”
Ambah said that Americans needed to “wake up and realize we can’t let someone like Trump control our policies and control the way we view the world.”
Gracie Dahl, a 19-year-old illustration student from London, made a sign saying “IMPEACH.”
“What have I got against Trump? What haven’t I got against him?” she said. “His views on women, refugees, separating children from their families, he’s just a generally abusive, arrogant man and I can’t stand he’s been given the platform he has.”
She added: “America can keep him if they like him so much but we don’t want him here.”
Workers, shoppers and tourists had to stand aside as the marchers moved down Regent Street — which is home to many high-end stores — to make way for the thousands of deafening protesters banging drums and blowing whistles.
Carolyn Royan, 48, a Texas-born opera singer who has lived in London for 20 years, held aloft a banner saying “Texans against Trump.”
“This is my first ever protest,” she said. “I am sick and tired of having a lying, bigoted misogynistic racist as a president. He cares nothing for ordinary Americans and is simply out to enrich himself and his family.”
As the march progressed, protesters started chanting: “Donald Trump, go away, racist, sexist, anti-gay.”
The president has decided to largely avoid London during his trip, perhaps mindful of being confronted or associated with a mass display of public rejection. But this will not be confined to the capital.
Among the 68 events listed on the Stop the Trump Coalition website is the “Orkney Picnic of Resistance” in the isles in northern Scotland, and the “Anti-Trump Vigil” in the Welsh capital of Cardiff.
The mood will likely not have been helped by an extraordinary interview with British tabloid The Sun late Thursday, in which Trump trashed Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit negotiations and warned she may have blown a trade deal with the U.S.
Before those remarks were published, Trump flew by helicopter from the ambassador’s residence to Winston Churchill’s ancestral home, Blenheim Palace, in Oxfordshire.
There, he and first lady Melania Trump were treated to a welcome ceremony and a lavish, black-tie dinner by May, her husband, Philip, and a host of business leaders.
At both Winfield House and Blenheim Palace Thursday, they were also greeted by protest. When their helicopter left the former, the pandemonium almost drowned out the rotor blades.
“He’s creating and fomenting a culture of racism, misogyny, intolerance, hatred and negativity and it’s very dangerous,” said Kate Gartside, a 54-year-old screenwriter from London who held a sign reading: “Lock him up!”
“The feeling of the British people has manifested itself here today,” said her 72-year-old husband Rod Rawley, also a writer and orignally from California, shouting to make himself heard over the cacophony.
He added the anti-Trump demonstrations “will prove the number of people who are totally against what Trump stands for… Although I don’t think he stands for anything apart from himself.”
The protesters had a range of grievances, from Trump’s remarks about Muslims and women, to his record on immigration, climate change and what organizers call his family’s “corporate greed.”
Some said they planned to stay all night at the fence, a good 200 yards from the residence, banging and hooting in a bid to keep the president awake.
“It’s embarrassing, isn’t it?” said Jasmin Harper, a 27-year-old insurance worker who moved from Virginia to London four years ago. “I’m appalled and disgusted by everything Trump does.”
Marlon Kameka, a 29-year-old actor, added: “As a black man, I don’t like the way he’s spoken about the NFL players, calling them ‘sons of bitches,’ or for him to say there were ‘some very fine people’ at the Charlottesville march. We still have issues around race in this country but it pales in comparison to America.”
After meeting with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle on Friday, Trump will travel to Scotland where he will visit at least one of his golf resorts.
A demonstration was planned for Glasgow’s George Square on Friday night and a mass rally in Edinburgh, starting at the Scottish Parliament and ending at The Meadows park, on Saturday afternoon.
Smaller protests were expected early Saturday at Balmedie in Aberdeenshire, where Trump has a new purpose-built hotel and golf course, and at Turnberry in Ayrshire.
These demonstrators don’t appear to be just a vocal minority.
On Thursday, a poll by YouGov said fewer than one in five Brits had a favorable opinion of the president.
The same poll found 74 percent of respondents think Trump is a sexist and 63 percent think he is a racist. On the flip side, 38 percent think the president is a strong leader, 25 percent believe he is charismatic and 16 percent said he was honest.
Even before this week, Trump had threatened a frosty relationship with Britain and May.
He has slapped tariffs on British steel and aluminium, criticized the country’s response to terror attacks, and appears to have warmed again to Russian President Vladimir Putin after a chemical attack that the U.K. blames on Moscow.
Trump also rubbed salt in the wounds of England’s bitter World Cup defeat at the hands of Croatia on Wednesday night, telling a Croatian journalist on Thursday: “Congratulations, by the way.”
Article Source : https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/trump-britain-president-faces-protest-across-u-k-n891071?cid=public-rss_20180713