BRITS JEER Trump in noisy street protests.

Arkansas Democrat-Gazette - - FRONT PAGE - CEY­LAN YE­GINSU AND ILIANA MAGRA THE NEW YORK TIMES

LON­DON — Tens of thou­sands of de­mon­stra­tors turned out Fri­day in Lon­don. A “Trump Baby” bal­loon hov­ered above Par­lia­ment Square. Many peo­ple banged pots and pans, and chanted slo­gans. Those were some of the ways peo­ple mounted protests at every stage of Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s work­ing visit to Bri­tain.

The main protests were a day af­ter the pres­i­dent’s trip was jolted by The Sun news­pa­per’s pub­li­ca­tion of an in­ter­view in which Trump gave a harsh as­sess­ment of Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May’s strat­egy for ex­it­ing the Euro­pean Union. Trump also praised Boris John­son, May’s Con­ser­va­tive Party ri­val, as a po­ten­tially great prime min­is­ter.

But later, Trump tried to re­pair the dam­age, call­ing May “tough.”

The most an­tic­i­pated part of Bri­tain’s “Stop Trump” protests — a gi­ant or­ange bal­loon of Trump de­picted as a pout­ing baby in a di­a­per and hold­ing a smart­phone — took flight in Lon­don ear­lier in the day.

Dozens of peo­ple — ac­tivists, tourists, chil­dren and by­standers tak­ing time out from their com­mutes — gath­ered around the 19-foot bal­loon and counted down from 10 be­fore it was re­leased into the air.

“This is a vic­tory,” said Leo Mur­ray, an ac­tivist and the cre­ator of the bal­loon. “Peo­ple love it, he hates it, and it’s driven him out of Lon­don.”

Mur­ray and other ac­tivists be­hind the in­flat­able “Trump Baby” have called the bal­loon a “sym­bol of re­sis­tance,” aimed at send­ing Trump a clear mes­sage that he is not wel­come in Bri­tain.

“The only way to get through to him is to get down to his level and talk in a lan­guage he un­der­stands — one of per­sonal in­sults,” Mur­ray has said.

“He mocks and in­sults any­one who doesn’t sup­port him,” said Adam Cot­trell, one of the ac­tivists be­hind the bal­loon protest, “so now he can see what it feels like.”

Not ev­ery­one was en­thu­si­as­tic about the bal­loon. Lucy Law­son, an Amer­i­can ex­pa­tri­ate, went to see it be­cause it was close to her work, but while she op­poses Trump’s poli­cies, she said the protest was child­ish.

“Why are peo­ple go­ing down to his level? Why are they be­ing so child­ish?” she said. “It’s be­cause of his child­like lead­er­ship that we are in this mess.”

Law­son asked one of the or­ga­niz­ers why the group had launched the bal­loon when it knew Trump would be barely in Lon­don.

“It’s go­ing to swamp his Twit­ter feed,” Cot­trell said. “There’s no way he doesn’t see this.”

Throngs of de­mon­stra­tors be­gan gath­er­ing in the af­ter­noon for the na­tional rally in sites like Trafal­gar Square. Ox­ford Street, fa­mous for its shops, was trans­formed into a car­ni­val of slo­gans against Trump.

“This is epic,” said Steven Lan­g­ley, hold­ing up a ban­ner that read, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”

“Trump is the rea­son that the whole world or­der is in dis­ar­ray,” said Peggy Hudson, 37, a doc­toral stu­dent. “Amer­ica used to lead the world, now it’s send­ing us all down the drain.”

Trump landed in Bri­tain on Thurs­day for a two-day visit, dur­ing which he spent the night at Win­field House, the U.S. am­bas­sador’s res­i­dence in Lon­don. There, protesters banged pots and pans and played record­ings of cry­ing chil­dren sep­a­rated from their par­ents at the Mex­i­can bor­der in an at­tempt to keep Trump awake.

On Fri­day morn­ing, Trump headed to the Royal Mil­i­tary Academy Sand­hurst for a mil­i­tary dis­play and trav­eled later to Che­quers, the prime min­is­ter’s coun­try res­i­dence, for talks with May on for­eign pol­icy is­sues. Then he and his wife, Me­la­nia, ar­rived at Wind­sor Cas­tle to have tea with Queen El­iz­a­beth II.

Two hours af­ter float­ing above the city, the Trump Baby bal­loon was pulled back to earth and landed on its tummy in Par­lia­ment Square.

The protests kicked into high gear later in the day, with peo­ple march­ing across Lon­don, bang­ing drums, whoop­ing and shout­ing slo­gans. Among the protesters were Mus­lims who held out­door Fri­day Prayers at Cavendish Square Gar­dens in cen­tral Lon­don, where they de­nounced Trump’s poli­cies and rhetoric as di­vi­sive.

“We de­nounce poli­cies, state­ments and nar­ra­tives that turn one sec­tion of so­ci­ety against an­other,” said Anas Altikriti, pres­i­dent of the Mus­lim As­so­ci­a­tion of Bri­tain, as dozens of Mus­lims knelt on prayer mats. “Un­for­tu­nately, this pres­i­dent has seen fit to di­vide his own peo­ple and sub­se­quently to di­vide the peo­ple of our world.”

Am­rani Jani, a mu­si­cian, ex­plained that it was be­cause of Trump’s poli­cies against Is­lamic coun­tries that Mus­lims in the West feared pub­licly dis­play­ing their re­li­gion as they had done Fri­day.

“There’s so many peo­ple that signed up but didn’t turn up to­day be­cause they are afraid of the kind of an­tag­o­nis­tic be­hav­ior that Trump’s lan­guage in­flu­ences,” Jani said. “He puts Mus­lims and ter­ror­ists in the same bas­ket, and that is very dan­ger­ous.”

As the call to prayer blasted out through a mi­cro­phone in the park, some passers-by shouted ex­ple­tives at the group.

“Since Trump, peo­ple feel em­pow­ered to tell us to get out or go home,” Jani said. “Well, this is home.”

In Wind­sor, the swel­ter­ing heat did not dis­cour­age a good num­ber of protesters from turn­ing out, and soon enough High Street filled up. Ex­cept for scarce chants of “Go Home,” the protest was calm, dur­ing which posters and plac­ards did most of the talk­ing.

“There’s re­ally noth­ing pos­i­tive to say about him,” said James Rice, 24, a stu­dent who went to the protest in a wheel­chair.

But among the anti-Trump crowd were a few who had gone to Wind­sor to sup­port the pres­i­dent. Gerry Hoey, 53, was one of them. “He’s fight­ing against cor­rup­tion,” said Hoey, who had trav­eled from Dublin.

Al­most three hours into the protest, the anti-Trump crowd found its voice, when three peo­ple waved a large “Trump Make Amer­ica Great Again” flag.

The protests did not end in Lon­don. Af­ter Trump ar­rived at Turn­berry, a golf re­sort he owns in Scot­land where he will spend the week­end, a Green­peace ac­tivist pi­loted a paraglider into the area.

Footage posted by the group to its Twit­ter ac­count showed a lone paraglider swoop­ing to­ward the pres­i­dent and his en­tourage with a yel­low ban­ner that read, “Trump: Well Be­low Par #Re­sist.”

To­day, Trump sup­port­ers plan to march from the U.S. Em­bassy in Lon­don to White­hall, where gov­ern­ment of­fices are con­cen­trated. Far-right groups plan to rally, too.

AP/MATT DUNHAM

Peo­ple in Lon­don’s Par­lia­ment Square take pho­tos of a bal­loon de­pict­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump as an an­gry baby that was flown as a protest against his trip to Eng­land.

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