By Andrew MacAskill and Andrew R.C. Marshall
Demonstrators take part in an anti-Trump protest in Trafalgar Square, London, Britain, June 4, 2019. REUTERS/Clodagh Kilcoyne
LONDON (Reuters) – Thousands of people protested in central London on Tuesday against U.S. President Donald Trump’s pomp-laden state visit to Britain, but numbers were far down from the tens of thousands who gathered to oppose his visit last year.
Protesters waved witty and sometimes rude placards at a what organizers called a “Carnival of Resistance” in Trafalgar Square while Prime Minister Theresa May was in talks with the president a short distance away in Downing Street.
There was a festival atmosphere at the rally, which will be addressed later by Britain’s opposition Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn.
Among Britons, Trump is one of the best-known but least-liked foreign leaders. Just 21% of people surveyed by YouGov had a “positive opinion” of him. Among women, that figure shrank to 14%.
The tone at the protest was set by a large statue of Trump sitting on a golden lavatory with his trousers around his ankles, while the placards read: “Trump stay out! We are quite capable of cocking up our own politics”, “You can’t come over racism” and “Lock him in the tower”.
“Trump is an ignorant, 70-year-old man who has lived a life of privilege,” said Anna Fenton, 23, a marketing manager from London carrying a sign reading “Ugh, where do I even start?”
Fenton said she was protesting to show solidarity with “people that Trump’s language and policies have harmed,” including women and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
The crowd, of a several thousand strong, was far down on the tens of thousands who protested when Trump first visited Britain as president in July 2018.
There were small pockets of support. A few men wearing red caps with “Make America Great Again” walked among the crowd. Trump supporters said the protests against him were an insult to the leader of the United Kingdom’s most powerful ally.
Reporting by Andrew MacAskill and Andrew Marshall, Writing by Paul Sandle; editing by Guy Faulconbridge