Shortly before Donald Trump arrived in Britain on Thursday he said, “They like me a lot in Britain. I think they agree with me on immigration.” Thousands of people have already joined protests to prove him wrong—and more are yet to come.
Thursday evening saw protests across Britain, including in London, Leeds, Cardiff, Swansea, Newcastle, Bristol, Oxfordshire and Cambridge.
More than 3,500 protesters massed outside Blenheim Palace in Woodstock, Oxfordshire.
Avoiding mass protests in London, Trump was due to dine with Theresa May and around 150 big business leaders and dignitaries at Churchill's stately home.
But thousands came out to protest—jeering and shouting at the diners as they arrived in a convoy. Bus and lorry drivers cheered bus and beeped their horns in support.
A group of young protesters chased off a journalist from The Sun newspaper.
The protest closed with a march around Woodstock. There was a real carnival atmosphere. Chants of “No Trump, no May—racist, sexist, anti-gay” and “Say it loud, say it clear—racist trump not welcome here” rang out around the town.
Clara from Topaz—an Oxfordshire based LGBT+ youth organisation—said, “It's wonderful to see so many people united to protest not just against Trump but also those that are enabling his ideas here in Britain”.
Ashanti a young woman from Barton in Oxford said, “I’m so pleased to see such a great turnout. It really is very much an Oxford protest—polite, good-humoured—but a real boost to see so many here people from Oxford that are opposed to racism and fascism”.
Around 1,000 people also protested outside the US ambassador's residence in Regents Park, London, where Trump will spend the night.
Alison, who joined the protest, told Socialist Worker, “Trump’s views on immigration and the separation of families is vile”.
Speakers lined up to take turns putting the boot into Trump.
One speaker from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament attacked his warmongering. Another from the Unite union went for the racist US president over his trade policies.
Lindsey German from the Stop the War Coalition savaged the “special relationship” between the US and Britain. “It's done nothing but harm to people in this country,” she said, pointing to the Iraq War as an example.
People came on the protest for a variety of reasons. Up to 2,000 people were reported to have joined the protest in Bristol, 400 in Cambridge, and around 700 in Cardiff.
Brian Stovelle from Croydon, south London, said the answer to Trump is “to work together collectively. There's a lot of anger out there already, it's a question of utilising that anger.”
Nadia Sayed from Stand Up To Racism spoke to the crowd in London. She pointed at Trump's attacks on American Football players kneeling during the national anthem. She argued that Trump is “not a defender of free speech. He's an attacker of free speech.”
And she pointed to how Trump gives confidence to the far right and to Nazis such as Tommy Robinson and his supporters.
Protesters stressed the importance of turning out against Trump, but also on Saturday when Robinson supporters plan to march in central London.
“We need a broad group of people out on the streets from different age groups, ethnicities and backgrounds against them,” argued Allison. “We need to fight together against these ideas.”