LONDON (AP) — As British Prime Minister Theresa May meets President Donald Trump on Tuesday, thousands of protesters plan to tell the U.S. leader he should have stayed at home.
Trade unions, women’s groups, peace campaigners and environmentalists are gathering in the capital to condemn Trump’s policies — and Britain’s decision to roll out the red carpet for a pomp-filled state visit.
Protests began with the flying of a giant blimp depicting the president as an angry orange baby, which rose from the grass of central London’s Parliament Square.
One group came dressed in the red cloaks and bonnets of characters from Margaret Atwood’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which is set in a dystopian, misogynist future America.
Leaders of Britain’s main opposition party are due to join demonstrators later at a rally in Trafalgar Square, just up the street from May’s Downing St. office. Police have erected barricades to stop protesters marching past the gates of Downing St.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn is due to address the protest, which will be attended by several senior lawmakers from his left-of-center party.
Emily Thornberry, Labour’s foreign affairs spokeswoman, said Trump was “a sexual predator” and a racist who did not deserve the honor of a state visit hosted by Queen Elizabeth II.
Thornberry told the BBC that the leader of Britain’s most important ally should be stood up to “the way you deal with a bully” because “if you bow down in front of them you just get kicked harder.”
Not everyone in London was unwelcoming.
Lewis Metcalfe said he came to the city from his home in northern England to show support for the president.
“I’m obviously going to be a minority today,” said Metcalfe, who wore a “Make America Great Again” cap.
“I don’t agree with all his policies. He’s not the greatest president in the world, but he does get things done.”
Trump dined with the queen at Buckingham Palace and took tea with Prince Charles on Monday, the first day of his three-day visit.
Things are likely to become more awkward on Tuesday when he meets May, who is in the final weeks of her premiership. The two leaders have sharply differing views on issues including Iran, Brexit and Chinese telecoms firm Huawei.
Trump has already criticized May’s handling of Brexit and said May’s rival Boris Johnson would make an “excellent” prime minister.