SEE: Demonstrators mock Trump with giant balloon

2018-07-13 12:29

Demonstrators mocked US President Donald Trump with a giant balloon depicting him as a screaming orange baby on Friday as tens of thousands marched through the streets of London to protest the American leader's visit to the UK.

The diaper-clad infant, with a quiff of hair and a mobile phone for tweeting, soared over the Houses of Parliament, the centrepiece of demonstrations protesting Trump's policies on issues ranging from immigration and race relations to women and climate change.

"This was just a bunch of friends who got together in a pub," said Kevin Smith, one of the 16 people behind the balloon. "This is what people need to be doing — to come together in their communities to organise and work out how to stand against right-wing populism and xenophobia that we're seeing not just in the US but in Europe."

Anger over Trump's visit has already had consequences. Just a week after Trump's inauguration, Prime Minister Theresa May invited the president for a state visit, the type of event that normally includes glittering horse-drawn carriages and a state dinner hosted by the monarch. That morphed into this two-day "working visit" with much less pomp and circumstance amid concern about security and crowds in central London.

Protest organisers plan to stage demonstrations in some 50 cities around the UK.

"We hope that wherever Donald Trump goes, he hears and sees the strength of a British opinion that rejects not just him as a person and however distasteful he is as a person, but the policies and politics that he represents," said Asad Rehman, organiser of UK Protests Against Trump's Visit.

Trump will spend very little time in London, having stayed in the capital for a single, well-insulated night at the official residence of the US ambassador in Regent's Park.

After arriving in Britain on Thursday afternoon, Trump had dinner at Winston Churchill's birthplace, Blenheim Palace, about 100km outside London. On Friday, he will travel to the prime minister's country residence, Chequers, for talks with May. Instead of a procession down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, he'll be helicoptered to the garden at Windsor Castle for tea with Queen Elizabeth II.

Trump, in an interview with Britain's Sun newspaper, criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan, saying he had not been "hospitable" to the US government. Khan refused to block the Trump baby balloon.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London," Trump said in an interview published on Friday.

Security for protests

Khan, who has often been a target of Trump's ire, backed the protests but said those who want to cause trouble are not welcome.

"The US has always stood by our side as a beacon for tolerance, openness and respect. This protest is not anti-American - far from it. Most of those marching on Friday will love the United States, just as I do," Khan said. "But having a special relationship means that we expect the highest standards from each other, and it also means speaking out when we think the values we hold dear are under threat."

The National Police Chiefs’ Council, which is responsible for the deployment of police during large-scale events, said demand is "particularly high" this week as forces work together to provide security and police the protests. Rest days for officers have been cancelled and many will be working 12-hour shifts.

Trump's visit is one of the biggest mutual aid operations for police in recent years, requiring similar resources to the 2014 NATO summit in Wales, the council said.

After his meetings in and around London, Trump will fly north for a round of golf at his Turnberry resort in Scotland. That won't help him escape protesters who have scheduled demonstrations outside the golf course, as well as George Square in Glasgow and near the US consulate in Edinburgh.

A march in support of Trump will start at the US Embassy on the south bank of the River Thames and end near the prime minister's residence at Downing Street on Saturday.

'Positive spin' on visit

Sarah Elliott, chairperson of Republicans Overseas UK, said that as president, Trump should be offered respect wherever he goes. She wants to offer him a warm welcome besides.

"We want to put a positive spin on his visit because we think that what comes out of this visit is more important than any kind of protest that can be made," she said.

"The United Kingdom is leaving the EU in a few months' time and are they prepared to do a free trade deal with the US, because Mr Trump is."

But the sheer showmanship of the Trump baby has captured the public imagination.

The 6-metre tall balloon's creators, who call themselves babysitters, freely admit they borrowed the idea from comedian Jon Stewart, who in 2016 called Trump a "man-baby". A crowd-funding campaign raised $26 400 to make it a reality.

"Depicting Trump as a baby is a great way of targeting his fragile ego, and mocking him is our main motivation," said Matthew Bonner, one of the organisers.

"He doesn't seem to be affected by the moral outrage that comes from his behaviour and his policies. You can't reason with him but you can ridicule him."

Read more on:    donald trump  |  uk

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.