Trump dismisses British protests as ‘fake news’ as thousands march against him in London

LONDON – Thousands of demonstrators here Tuesday showed their discontent with President Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain as they marched with placards, in costumes and with unusual depictions of the president that mixed anger with humor. 

The protest route ran from London’s Trafalgar Square, past No. 10 Downing St. – Prime Minister Theresa May’s official office and residence – and on to Parliament Square, a large open green space across the street from the British Parliament.

Marchers expressed their opposition to the Trump administration on a whole host of issues ranging from climate change and abortion rights, to its disregard for multilateral agreements and its aggressive rhetoric toward Iran.

Many protestors described Trump as an ill-disciplined bully. 

“He’s just mean,” said Rachel Hawkins, 30, a Londoner who works in finance. 

How special is the relationship?: Trump’s U.K. state visit turns from pomp to politics

Trump is in Britain for three days, part of a spectacle-and-ceremony-laden visit aimed at reaffirming the “special relationship” between Britain and the U.S. that has grown out of close cooperation through wars, terrorist attacks and close economic and cultural ties.

Protesters take part in a demonstration against the State Visit of President Donald Trump in central London on June 4, 2019. (Photo: ISABEL INFANTES, AFP/Getty Images)

During a press conference with May, Trump said he saw only a handful of protesters as he traveled through the streets of London, but that is because of the way British police placed security barriers. Most of the demonstrators were out of his sight.  

Trump dismissed reports of the protests as fake news.

“There were thousands of people cheering,” said the president. “I don’t see any protests. I did see a small protest today, very small. So, a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.”

Still, while there did not appear to be as many protesters as when the president visited Britain in July last year, the highlight of the demonstrations for some was, again, a 20-foot-tall inflatable balloon, known as Trump Baby. It depicts the White House occupant as a diaper-wearing baby holding a mobile phone. It has a scowl on its face. 

The blimp was hoisted above Parliament Square on Tuesday. 

“Trump has repeatedly shown that he doesn’t respond to reason, to facts or to science. What he does respond to is humiliation,” said Anna Vickerstaff, one of the organizers of the Trump blimp, in an opinion article for The Independent newspaper on Monday. “Our balloon is part of a proud history of political satire in the U.K. that sends a clear, orange message to Trump and his politics of hate that they are not welcome here.”

Queen Elizabeth’s glittery state banquet: Toasts and national anthems

Protesters held colorful signs that said things like “boycott bigotry,” “hate is not my cup of tea” and “feed him to the corgis,” a reference to Queen Elizabeth II’s favorite dog breed. (She has owned more than 30.) Trump spent Monday meeting with the queen. 

Another held aloft by a protester said: “British Humor: the gift of a book to an illiterate man – well played Your Majesty,” a reference to a gift the queen gave to Trump, a first edition of Winston Churchill’s book “The Second World War.” 

However, there were also far more unconventional forms of protest, too. 

Don Lessen spent more than a month creating a massive robot of Trump sitting on a gold-colored toilet with his pants around his ankles. The robot, wearing a red “Make America Great Again” hat, was pushed along in the crowds of demonstrators. Every minute or so it said: “You are fake news”; “No collusion”; and “I’m a very stable genius.” 

About a dozen women were dressed in red cloaks and white bonnets – the attire from Margaret Atwood’s novel “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is set in a fantasy totalitarian society that treats women as state property. The group walked in silent protest.

There were Trump impersonators and floats of Trump in a cage. One woman pushed a small orange gremlin-like figure with Trump’s face in a stroller. A vendor in Parliament Square sold Trump toilet paper. The sales pitch: “It’s America’s No. 1 for your No. 2s.”

Londoners at their most Londonerist

But not everyone was dissatisfied with Trump’s visit. 

Augustine Obodo, 50, is a member of Friends of Trump U.K. 

There were small pockets of Trump supporters in Trafalgar Square, named after a famous British naval victory, but as the protests got underway Obodo at one point was mobbed by anti-Trump protesters. The group was  trying to prevent him from waving a large Israeli flag – the Trump administration’s actions toward that country, such as moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem, being another point of contention.  

“I’m passionate about Trump because he is very straightforward,” said the health care worker. “He’s very sincere and outspoken. He says it the way it is.”

Trump baby blimp rises again: Near Trump robot on toilet – for London visit

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