REUTERS – Anti-Trump placards are being prepared ahead of U.S. president Donald Trump’s visit to Britain, and a high-security metal fence has been erected outside the U.S. ambassador’s residence Winfield House in London, where Trump will stay overnight.
Trump arrives in Britain on Thursday (July 12) after a NATO summit and thousands of protesters are expected to join demonstrations during his visit, including plans to fly a blimp over parliament portraying Trump as an orange, snarling baby.
More than 50,000 people have signed up to demonstrate in London on Friday (July 13) against the U.S. leader’s visit, although a counter-gathering to welcome him is also planned.
While Britain regards the United States as its closest ally, some Britons see Trump as crude, volatile and opposed to their values on a range of issues. His comments on militant attacks in Britain and his re-tweeting of anti-Muslim videos posted by a leader of a far-right UK party sparked anger.
The president will arrive in Britain from Brussels and Prime Minister Theresa May will host Trump and First Lady, Melania Trump, for a black-tie dinner at Blenheim Palace in the evening. Blenheim is the birthplace of Winston Churchill.
The next day, they will travel to Chequers, May’s country residence, for talks on a range of foreign policy issues. This will include a working lunch, followed by a news conference. The Trumps will then travel to Windsor Castle to meet Queen Elizabeth.
Trump is also due to travel to Scotland where he owns two golf courses and Scotland’s interim police chief has said more than 5,000 officers would be needed for to cover the trip, including specialist riot and armed officers.
Ahead of his visit, Trump said Britain was currently “in somewhat turmoil” as Prime Minister May grappled with a political crisis after two top ministers quit over her plans for trade ties with the European Union after Britain leaves the bloc next March.
“I have NATO, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have (Vladimir Putin),” Trump said as he set off on his trip to Europe which includes a meeting with the Russian President in the Finnish capital Helsinki. “Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”
Relations between Britain and Russia are at a post-Cold War low since May blamed the Kremlin for the poisoning of former Russian agent Sergei Skripal with a Soviet-era military nerve agent in March.