Donald Trump mocked during protests against his visit to the UK

Protesters against the UK visit of US President Donald Trump gather in Trafalgar Square after taking part in a march in London on July 13, 2018. (AFP)
Updated 14 July 2018
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Donald Trump mocked during protests against his visit to the UK

  • Trump was greeted by massive protests across Britain, including tens of thousands of demonstrators who filled the streets of London alongside a giant balloon
  • Trump acknowledged feeling unwelcome in the city, and blamed that in part on Mayor Sadiq Khan, who gave protesters permission to fly the baby Trump balloon

LONDON: Thousands crammed the streets of central London on Friday to vent their anger over Donald Trump’s first official visit to Britain, blowing horns, waving banners and hoisting a bright orange effigy of the US president on their shoulders
Filing past palaces of high-end commerce — Apple, Burberry, Brooks Brothers — marchers criticized Trump’s policies on immigration, climate change and torture, as well as his treatment of women. Some carried more than one sign, unable to choose which policy they hated the most.
The Rev. Nigel Sinclair, a 53-year-old Church of England preacher, came in what he called his Sunday vicar’s outfit, carrying a sign that showed how Trump’s ideas differ from those of Jesus Christ. Susie Mazur, 29, from Salisbury in southwestern England, crocheted a Donald Trump pin-cushion and wore it on her head, winning praise from fellow protesters.
“People coming here nowadays feel very hopeless about what is happening. They don’t like what is happening in the UK, in America, across the world — there are so many problems,” Mazur said. “Everyone has the same goal. What they want is to stop hate, basically.”
As Trump met with Prime Minister Theresa May at her country retreat outside the city, the protesters gathered outside embassies, offices and homes carrying signs that read, “Human rights have no border,” and “Mother Earth unites us,” before marching past the shops of Regent’s Street on their way to Piccadilly Circus and finally Trafalgar Square, which the city calls a “center of national democracy and protest.”
Not everyone was protesting against Trump, however.
Augustine Chukwuma Obodo, who wore a “Make America Great Again!” hat and a “Trump for President in 2020” shirt, said he wanted to make clear that not everyone found the protests amusing. Obodo, a Nigerian living in London, said he wanted to add his voice to those who are quieter, but believe Trump is doing a good job on issues such as pushing NATO members to increase their defense spending.
“America is not a cash point,” he said.
The day began with a giant balloon that caricatured Trump as a screaming orange baby flying outside the Houses of Parliament. The diaper-clad infant, with a quiff of hair and a mobile phone for tweeting, was the centerpiece of demonstrations.
“Depicting Trump as a baby is a great way of targeting his fragile ego, and mocking him is our main motivation,” said Matthew Bonner, one of the organizers of the balloon flight. “He doesn’t seem to be affected by the moral outrage that comes from his behavior and his policies. You can’t reason with him, but you can ridicule him.”
Hundreds crammed Parliament Square to take in the spectacle. Deborah Burns, 43, of Newcastle in northern England, brought along her 10-year old daughter, Monica Siddique.
“I think it’s a good way to stop Trump from being mean to the rest of the world,” Monica said of the balloon. “He says, ‘Oh, this is a free world.’ But then he goes and builds walls. ... He acts like a baby.”
Some Americans living in London came to see the balloon, wearing the Stars and Stripes draped over their shoulders. Other spectators just came to take pictures as the balloon floated overhead for two hours.
“It’s a very British way of protesting — we don’t like to throw stones,” said Phil Chapman, 59, of Hayfield, a village in Derbyshire. “It’s far easier to protest in a pleasant way. If you can do that with humor, you will get more attention.”
Trump criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who refused to prevent the balloon from flying, in an interview published Friday.
“I think he has not been hospitable to a government that is very important,” Trump told Britain’s Sun newspaper. “Now, he might not like the current president, but I represent the United States. I also represent a lot of people in Europe, because a lot of people from Europe are in the United States.”
Khan, who has been a target of Trump’s ire before, said his job was to make sure the protests were peaceful, not to be a censor or the “arbiter of good taste.”
“The idea that I would stop a blimp or a balloon flying over London because it may cause offense, and thereby curtail the rights people have to protest when it’s not unsafe, it’s not un-peaceful, I think people would find a bit astonishing,” Khan told the BBC.
Anger over Trump’s visit has been simmering ever since May invited the president for a state visit just a week after his inauguration last year. The event, which would normally include glittering horse-drawn carriages and a state dinner hosted by the monarch, morphed into a two-day “working visit” with much less pomp and circumstance amid concern about security and crowds in central London.
Trump avoided the protests by largely staying away from the capital. After a black-tie dinner 60 miles (100 kilometers) outside London, he spent Thursday night at the US ambassador’s residence in Regents Park, then flew by helicopter to May’s country retreat, Chequers, for his meeting with the prime minister, followed by another flight to Windsor Palace for tea with Queen Elizabeth II.
He then headed for Scotland, where he was to spend the weekend at one of his private golf clubs.
Ahead of Trump’s arrival, hundreds of people gathered in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, to protest the US president’s UK visit.
Among them was Emily Bryce, who proudly carried a homemade banner written in Gaelic, in recognition of Trump’s Highland roots. “Donald Trump, son of the devil,” it read.
“It’s a disgrace that Theresa May has allowed Trump to visit the UK and to meet the queen,” the 67-year-old Bryce said.
A march in support of Trump was planned for Saturday in London, starting at the US Embassy on the south bank of the River Thames and ending near the prime minister’s residence at Downing Street. But on Friday, the crowds belonged to those who oppose his policies.
Placards reading “Dump Trump,” and “Can’t comb over sexism,” were raised high by the boisterous crowds in the capital.
Phil Bond, 65, a musician, said he knew it was unlikely that the demonstrations will make any difference to Trump, but he believes people in the United States will notice.
“If enough people come out, it might make a difference,” he said.


More than 400 hurt in French fuel price protests

Updated 14 min 36 sec ago
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More than 400 hurt in French fuel price protests

  • The injured, 409 in total, included 28 police, paramilitary police or firefighters
  • On Saturday, groups blocked roundabouts, major highways and thoroughfares to express anger over increased taxes on fuel and their shrinking purchasing power under President Emmanuel Macron

PARIS: More than 400 people were hurt, 14 seriously, in a day and night of “yellow vest” protests over rising fuel price hikes around France that claimed one life, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Sunday.
The injury toll, more than double the last tally provided on Saturday, followed what Castaner described as a “restive” night in 87 locations around the country where protesters had blocked roads to express their anger at a series of hikes in petrol tax.
The injured, 409 in total, included 28 police, paramilitary police or firefighters.
There were more protests Sunday in several regions across France, leading to traffic disruptions, but their intensity seemed to be diminishing, according to AFP journalists.
But French retail group Auchan reported violent incidents at around 20 shopping centers where it operates hypermarkets.
Castaner told RTL radio that 288,000 people had taken part in Saturday’s protests at 2,034 locations countrywide. About 3,500 stayed out overnight, he added.
Police questioned 282 protesters in total, 73 during the night, of whom 157 were taken into custody.
“Last night was restive... There were assaults, fights, stabbings,” Castaner said. “There were fights among ‘yellow vest’ protesters. There was a lot of alcohol at certain venues, which led to this idiotic behavior.”
Budget Minister Gerald Darmanin said Sunday the government was aware of unhappiness over high fuel taxes, but said it had “a duty” to transform the French economy with the aim of making it less oil-dependent.
A poll published Sunday in the Journal de Dimanche weekly said that 62 percent of those questioned believed their purchasing power was more important than a fast transition toward renewable energy.
Prime Minister Edouard Philippe was to appear on national TV Sunday evening to discuss the protests.
On Saturday, groups blocked roundabouts, major highways and thoroughfares to express anger over increased taxes on fuel and their shrinking purchasing power under President Emmanuel Macron.
Tempers flared at times as some drivers confronted the protesters or tried to force their way through the barricades.
In the eastern Savoie region, authorities said a woman trying to get her daughter to a doctor panicked after protesters surrounded her car and banged on the roof. She accelerated into the crowd and killed a 63-year-old woman.
The driver was on Sunday charged with manslaughter before being released on conditional bail, prosecutors said.
The protesters are nicknamed “yellow vests” for the high-visibility jackets they wear.
An opinion poll published in the Sunday paper Journal du Dimanche meanwhile indicated that Macron’s popularity had dipped a further four points to 25 percent.
The survey was conducted November 9-17 with 1,957 respondents.