Words: Delmar Terblanche
Subbing: Loriane Jacquemart
President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit to the UK promises to bring chaos to the capital, even though he’s spending just one day there. Protesters have promised “a carnival of resistance” with organisers declaring that smaller protests would be taking place throughout the country, controlled by smaller, uncoordinated groups who have “taken on a life of their own”.
Meanwhile, The Police Federation has warned that the visit will impose “unquestionable pressure” on police officers as they strive to maintain peace and security among the protests.
The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, has defended the right to protest, provided the demonstrations are peaceful. This defence includes approval for a giant blimp which portrays the president as a giant baby.
Mr Khan’s defence has not gone unchallenged. Donald Trump’s lawyer and former mayor of New York, Rudy Giuliani has insisted that “Sadiq Khan should be ashamed of himself. He’s so busy attacking President Trump’s visit and, in the meantime, crime is spiralling in London. Maybe he should just do his job instead of attacking a world leader.”
There is support for Mr Trump among Londoners too. The Jameson Pub in Hammersmith is temporarily renaming itself “The Trump Arms” in honour of the President’s visit, and a group of protesters have sought to crowdfund a rival blimp, depicting Mr Khan as a baby. They have thus far raised 75% of their £50,000 target.
Mr Trump’s visit to London differs from previous visits by US Presidents in that it is explicitly a “working” visit, not a state one, and comes on the heels of explicit division between the US and the UK in matters such as the Iran deal, international tariffs, moving the US embassy to Jerusalem, and Muslim travel ban – not to mention President Trump’s antagonistic attitude to foreign leaders, including the time he retweeted anti-Muslim messages from a British far-right group, and was publicly reprimanded by Mrs May.
Barriers have been erected around the US Ambassador’s residence in Regent’s park, intending to shield the President from protesters, who intend to begin marching through Oxford Circus this Thursday at 2pm.