Thousands of protesters angry at Donald Trump have taken to the streets in cities across the UK, as MPs debated an almost two-million strong petition calling for the US President’s state visit to be cancelled.
Demonstrators carrying placards gathered in Parliament Square on Monday afternoon, while inside MPs from across the political divide urged the Government to rescind its offer of an official visit hosted by the Queen.
The London rally, held by the Stop Trump Coalition and campaign group One Day Without Us, drew large groups of supporters carrying signs that read, “No to racism; no to Trump”.
Organisers said they expected 20,000 people to attend the event.
Separate demonstrations against the US President and in support of immigrants were being held in other cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Brighton, Bristol, Leeds, Newcastle, Glasgow and Edinburgh.
The Stop Trump coalition had called for a nationwide day of action in addition to dozens of protests coordinated by the One Day Without Us movement celebrating the contribution of immigrants to British society.
The action echoes protests in the US under the banner Day Without Immigrants, which saw businesses run by foreign-born citizens temporarily close.
Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott addressed the crowds to condemn the “dark shadow of racism and anti-immigrant sentiment” that was present in populist politics.
She said: “We know the values that Trump represents. With Donald Trump, you don’t have to look into a crystal ball, you can read the book.
“He was supported in his presidential campaign by white supremacists.
“And even in the first weeks of his presidency he has had a viscerally anti-immigrant line.”
Alison Dale, 61, who was at the rally, said: “It’s about the rise of hate and extremism, which is personified by Trump. It’s not just about him, but he represents what’s happening in the world at the moment
“The invitation was kneejerk, and made us look desperate. Now we’re leaving the European Union, it’s clear we’re just desperate for trade deals, and we look weak.”
Student Sara Sharp, 31, who carried a sign reading “Theresa the Appeaser”, said she was protesting “everything” the occasion represented.
She said: “If (Donald Trump) has a state visit, I think it will make our country look bad. But then I feel that sometimes Theresa May is just as bad.”