Campaigners have vowed that if US president Donald Trump comes to Britain for the pomp and luxury of a formal state visit, he’ll instead be met with mass protests.
Prime minister Theresa May invited him to Britain during her recent trip to the US, and the swaggering racist, sexist, homophobic, pro-torture and environment-wrecking billionaire has accepted.
A state visit typically includes a banquet hosted by the queen, a stay in Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle or Holyrood Palace, a military parade and a 41-gun salute.
It’s unusual for such a new head of state to be invited. But Theresa May, unelected and diplomatically isolated, is desperate for an ally to bolster her standing.
So to renew the “special relationship” that helped launch the Iraq War, she is giving Trump a boost despite the widespread opposition to his vile policies.
Trump's most recent outrage was to halt entry of all refugees to the US for 120 days, bar Syrian refugees indefinitely, and block entry into the US for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries - Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. An exception was made for "religious minorities" - Christians.
The New York Times reported that, "Refugees who were airborne on flights when the order was signed were detained at airports". Trump's order is already "slamming the border shut for an Iranian scientist headed to a lab in Boston, an Iraqi who had worked as an interpreter for the US Army, and a Syrian refugee family headed to a new life in Ohio, among countless others."
May's decision to roll out the red carpet for Trump could prove to be a major mistake. She has tied herself closely to the monster in the White House, creating an axis of austerity and racism and walking hand in hand towards terrifying military threats.
Millions of people in Britain hate Trump and all he stands for—and huge protests following his inauguration have shown it is possible to mobilise.
Stand Up To Racism (SUTR), the People’s Assembly, the Stop the War Coalition and CND have jointly demanded that May withdraws his invitation.
“If it is not withdrawn we serve notice that we and our allies across the labour and progressive movement will protest this visit at any and every possible occasion,” they stated.
“There can be no appeasement of a politician who places the wellbeing and safety of every working person in danger.”
SUTR said, “We believe hundreds of thousands will turn out to oppose Trump when he comes to the UK. We want to add our voices to the millions of people in Britain who will say that ‘Trump is not welcome here’”.
National SUTR demonstrations in London, Glasgow and Cardiff on Saturday 18 March continue to gather support.
Building the biggest possible turnout can pile the pressure on May to tear up Trump’s invite—or provide a launchpad for even bigger protests to besiege Trump if she doesn’t.