December 3, 2017
Press coverage

Donald Trump protest: ‘Biggest UK rally in history’ planned for Downing Street amid reports of UK visit in February

Francesca Gillett, Evening Standard

Huge numbers of people are planning to join a mass anti-Donald Trump protest outside Downing Street after reports he will visit the UK in February.

The Stop Trump campaign issued a rallying cry on Sunday evening, urging people to join the demonstration in a bid to carry out a citizen’s arrest on the US President for incitement to racial hatred.

It is hoped to become the “biggest demonstration in British history”, organisers said.

On Sunday evening, less than an hour after a Facebook event of the protest was created, more than 1,000 people had pledged to go and more than 2,400 others said they were interested.

Mr Trump’s upcoming working visit is said to have been pencilled in for February 26 and 27 next year, according to sources reported in the Sunday Times.

The timing of the visit has been arranged to coincide with the opening of a new US embassy, the newspaper said.

The protest, which was announced on Sunday evening, was co-created and shared widely by journalist and author Owen Jones.

“Put the date into your diaries,” organisers said.

“If Donald Trump attempts to sneak into the UK to open the US Embassy on 26/27th February 2018 and also pop into see Theresa May at Downing Street, he will be met by a million of us attempting a citizens arrest of him for incitement to racial hatred.”

The Stop Trump campaign, which was set up earlier this year after the president’s controversial travel ban, said it saw a boost in support this week after Mr Trump shared three unverified anti-Muslim videos.

Mr Trump retweeted the three clips which had been posted by the deputy leader of far-right group Britain First, Jayda Fransen. It sparked a massive global backlash and row with Prime Minister Theresa May, who said Mr Trump was “wrong” to share the tweets.

Speaking to the Standard earlier this week, Stop Trump campaign organisers said more than a million people could take to the streets to protest his upcoming visit.

The campaign had been reinvigorated by Mr Trump’s retweets, with thousands registering online and pledging to join the protest in the wake of the incident.

President Trump, 71, is set to visit Britain in early 2018 but Number 10 said no date has yet been set. Diplomats were reportedly discussing plans for a “working visit” which would see him not stay with the Queen.

According to the Times on Sunday, a working visit on February 26 and 27 has been in the diary for at least 10 days.

In January, around 100,000 activists also took to the streets of London to demonstrate against gender inequality after President Trump’s inauguration.

The same month, Whitehall was brought to a standstill as thousands of furious protester marched to Downing Street against the travel ban, which targeted visitors from seven Muslim-majority countries.