UK Government Preparing For Anti-Trump Protests As “If London Was Burning Down”
Above Photo: “We’ve seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don’t let them march and rise to power,” said Guardian columnist Owen Jones. (Photo: Stop Trump Coalition/Screengrab)
While the UK is preparing for mass protests against Donald Trump when he arrives in Great Britain on Thursday, the president will barely set foot in London. He will fly into Heathrow Airport and then be whisked to a fundraiser at Winston Churchill’s birthplace, Blenheim Palace outside the city. He will sleep at the US Ambassador’s residence but then spend all Friday outside the city going to Windsor Castle to meet with Queen Elizabeth II, and go to Chequers, the U.K. prime minister’s country house, before he heads to Scotland for the weekend.
Lots of protests are planned in his honor that could involved tens of thousands or more Britons. Among the protests are a Carnival of Resistance, national demonstrations in London and Edinburgh and a ‘chicken bloc’ for trade justice on the London demonstration. Trump may not see the immense Trump Blimp that has been approved to fly over London during his visit. As the article below describes the police are preparing for massive protests. As one chief constable told The Guardian, the resources that had been asked for were on the scale required “if London was burning down”. KZ
“We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents,” said one organizer
As U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May’s “embarrassing sham of a government” continued its slow-motion collapse on Monday with the resignation of Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, British authorities scrambled to prepare for “unprecedented” protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s upcoming visit by launching a major police mobilization aimed at containing what organizers have dubbed “The Carnival of Resistance.”
“Donald Trump likes to pose as an international tough guy, but it looks like he’s too scared to face protesters in London. If true, this is already a huge victory for protesters.”
—Stand Up to Trump
Hundreds of thousands of Britons are expected to take to the streets nationwide on Friday in opposition to Trump, who is scheduled to arrive in the U.K. Thursday evening. The protests—which will include a 20-foot-tall angry Trump baby blimp flying over London—are expected to be so large that White House officials are reportedly concerned that the crowd-obsessed Trump could lash out at his British hosts.
“We need to show the world what millions of people in this country think of the bigotry and the hatred that he represents,” Owen Jones, a Guardian columnist who helped organize the anti-Trump demonstrations, told TIME on Monday. “We’ve seen the rise of the far right in Britain and Europe, and the one lesson we should learn from history is that when racists and the far right mobilize, you fight back, you don’t let them march and rise to power.”
— Stop Trump (@UKStopTrump) July 7, 2018
According to the British Sunday Times, White House officials are planning to do all they can to “shield” Trump from the demonstrations by keeping him on a tightly organized schedule, but this will be difficult as Britons have organized enormous demonstrations in major cities throughout the country.
Speaking to the Guardian on Monday, one chief constable said the police resources requested by the government to contain the mass demonstrations were on the level that would be required “if London was burning down.”
“Donald Trump likes to pose as an international tough guy, but it looks like he’s too scared to face protesters in London,” the group Stand Up to Trump declared in a statement, alluding to the U.S. president’s reported plans to steer clear of the streets of London. “If true, this is already a huge victory for protesters.”
The Stop Trump Coalition—a group of organizations that played a role in planning the nationwide actions—provided a map of the protests Trump’s team will be attempting to avoid:
Amid reports that the government is working to bring a major police presence to the demonstrations, Amnesty International warned British authorities against attempting to stamp out freedom of expression in an effort to “appease their visitors.”
Allan Hogarth, head of policy at Amnesty International U.K., said Trump’s visit is a major “opportunity for the U.K. to show that peaceful protest is an essential component of a free and fair society, not something to be shut down as a political embarrassment.”
Acknowleging that Trump must “be defeated primarily in the U.S.,” Global Justice Now organizer Sam Lund-Harket wrote in a blog post that it is the job of progressives in the U.K. to show solidarity with their American allies by turning out in large numbers to denounce the president’s destructive and hate-filled agenda.
“Under Theresa May, the U.K. is a key Trump ally, so it’s important that he can’t waltz in without significant opposition,” Lund-Harket concluded. “Luckily tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, will be flooding to London on Friday, July 13 to march against him.”