British campaigners say they are preparing to stage the “most incredible protest in our history” upon US President Donald Trump’s visit to the UK.
After postponing his controversial trip due to an alleged fear of public protests, Trump finally confirmed at a recent meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in Davos that he would head to London on a state visit “later this year.”
The news revived debates about whether the American head of state was welcome in the UK.
A Facebook event set up by activists to organize protests against the visit, which would include a meeting with Queen Elizabeth II, has already attracted 20,000 people. Around 61,000 more say they are interested in attending.
“It’s just been announced: Donald Trump is coming to Britain on a visit later this year. We don’t know when. But let’s be ready – and be prepared to take to the streets in the most incredible protest in our history,” the organizers said in the event’s description.
May extended the queen’s invitation to Trump during a visit to the White House only a week after the Republican president’s inauguration last year.
The visit request was met with backlash from British people and politicians alike and led to the creation of the Stop Trump Coalition, which pledged to hold large demonstrations across the UK.
“It is our duty as citizens to speak out,” says the group, which enjoys support from Members of Parliament and artists. “We oppose this state visit to the UK and commit ourselves to one of the biggest demonstrations in British history, to make very clear to our government, and to the world, that this is not in our name.”
Trump was scheduled to return May’s visit in June 2017, according to former Scotland Yard chief Bernard Hogan-Howe.
It was revealed in February, however, that he had delayed his visit to avoid protests and potential snubs by MPs. According to reports, the trip faced another delay in June.
The White House and Downing Street were reportedly planning a stripped-back visit for February, which omitted a much-anticipated banquette with the Royal family.
Trump, who was expected to open the new US embassy in London, said in a tweet on January that he would not take the trip because it was a “bad deal” that the old building in Grosvenor Square, Westminster was sold for “peanuts” and moved to an “off location.”