The "Baby Trump" balloon will fly over London during Trump's visit (Photo: Getty Images)

POLITICS

Everything you need to know about Trump’s UK visit – and how to protest

The politics. The awkwardness. The giant, inflatable baby Trump balloon. Here’s why you need to get involved in the US president’s first UK visit

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By Radhika Sanghani on

On Thursday, for the first time since he became president, Donald Trump is going to visit the UK. It’s a working visit, which means he’s going to be having various political meetings and talking to prime minister Theresa May. But it’s also going to be an incredibly awkward visit.

Not only has our PM publicly disagreed with him over many of the dubious decisions he’s made as president (and will now have to hang out with him at her official residence), thousands and thousands of Britons are going to protest against him via various marches, stunts and a giant, inflatable baby Trump balloon.

Here’s everything you need to know about the visit, how you can get involved and why you should want to.

Why you should care

President Trump is not your average president. Before he was voted into office, he used to regularly make racist and sexist comments (who can forget the video recording of him talking about women and saying, “Grab ’em by the pussy”?) and, indeed, his racist views against immigrants formed part of his presidential campaign.

But, more importantly, these views have informed many of his actions as president. Over the last 18 months, he has made decisions that have caused outrage on an international level and pushed back many of the progressive steps the US has made in recent years.

What he’s done as president

Most of the policies he has implemented have been controversial in some way. Here are a few of the worst.

Muslim travel ban: Since December, a ban has been in place that prevents people from the Muslim-majority countries of Iran, Libya, Somalia, Syria and Yemen from entering the US – as well as people from North Korea and certain government officials from Venezuela. It has been labelled as an example of hate and bigotry, but was upheld last month by the Supreme Court.

Migrant separation: Trump launched a new, widely criticised policy that separated migrant children from their parents. Some children and adult were kept in cages in a Texan facility nicknamed La Pererra (dog kennel) after illegally crossing the border from Mexico and there are worries that children kept apart from their parents will suffer long-term trauma. Last month, after global pressure, he backed down and now promises to try to keep families together – although his new order does not address families already separated by the policy.

Iran nuclear deal: Six nations and Iran had made a long-awaited deal that would see Iran unable to develop nuclear weapons in exchange for economic sanctions. It took two years of negotiations to get there but, in May, Trump pulled out – with many speculating it’s just because his predecessor, Barack Obama, was responsible for the deal.

Global gag rule: Days after taking office, Trump signed an executive order to reinstate the “global gag rule” policy that blocks US funding for any NGO that provides abortion counselling or referrals across the world. That means almost $9bn of funding is currently affected, leading to catastrophic consequences for some of the world’s most vulnerable women.

What will he do on his visit

The president is going to be here from Thursday 12 July to Sunday 15 July. The trip will involve him going to Bleinham Palace in Oxfordshire for a black-tie dinner hosted by Theresa May, with more than 100 guests and ministers. He and Melania will then go to Winfield House, the American ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park.

On Friday, he will accompany May to a military demonstration at a defence site and then go with her to her official residence, Chequers, for discussions on foreign-policy issues. At some point, he’s also going to pop in to Windsor Castle to have tea with the Queen and then fly to Scotland.

He will spend the second half of his trip in Scotland, where it’s believed he will visit his two Trump golf courses and play a round of golf with Prince Andrew. It’s also likely that, at some point, the First Lady will host her own standalone event, such as discussing cyber-bullying (one of her big campaigns) with children at a British school.

President Trump is not your average president. Before he was voted into office, he used to regularly make racist and sexist comments (who can forget the video recording of him talking about women and saying, 'Grab ’em by the pussy'?)

How you can protest

There are going to be protests and marches happening at every stage of the president’s visit – all of which you can join.

Thursday 12 July

5.30-7.30pm, London. A campaign group called Together Against Trump, made up of several anti-Trump coalitions in the UK, has set up various protest events on Facebook, starting with one outside Winfield House. Protesters will meet at Hanover Gate and create a “wall of sound to give him the (un)welcome he deserves”. They have asked attendees to bring megaphones, whistles, pots and pans, to ensure Trump hears the protest.

5.30-7.30pm, Blenheim Palace. A group called Oxford Stand Up To Racism is also organising a protest outside Blenheim Palace, where Trump will arrive later in the evening for a dinner. Their event page explains: “The racist, warmongering, woman hating, climate-denying president of the US is being feted at Blenheim Palace. Joint the protest to say Trump is not welcome here.”

Friday 13 July

10am-1pm, Chequers. This protest is being held outside the prime minister’s country residence and will see people coming together “to protest May hosting Trump and to protest both their racist scapegoating of migrants, Muslims and refugees”.

12.30-4pm, central London. The Women’s March, which first took place on Trump’s inauguration and is now a global phenomenon, is organising a march from the BBC’s Portland Place building at 12.30pm, with a rally in Parliament Square from 2-4pm. It is supported by more than a dozen women’s groups and charities and the idea is to spread hope and joy, by wearing bright colours and making as much noise as possible. As well as women's issues, the march is campaigning for rights for refugees, people with disabilities, LGBT groups and others.

2-7pm central London. This is expected to be the biggest protest against Trump during his visit and will see around 50,000 people meet outside the BBC’s Portland Place building at 2pm to march, with a rally held later at 5pm in Trafalgar Square. Unlike the Women’s March, which mainly focuses on Trump’s anti-women policies, this is a “massive national demonstration against his politics of racism, war, sexism and hate”.

During the protests, a Trump Baby – a 20ft orange blimp showing the president as an angry baby holding a smartphone – will be flying above the capital, based in Parliament Square garden in Westminster. It has official permission to fly from City Hall, after 10,000 people signed a petition calling for it to fly. The idea is to humiliate the "deeply insecure" president.

Saturday 14 July

12pm, Edinburgh. Thousands are expected to protest the president’s arrival with a march starting at the Scottish Parliament, past the US Consulate and finishing in the meadows. There, they will hold a “Carnival of Resistance” with games such as ‘Toss the welly at Trump’, “Trump's head coconut shy” and, of course, “mini golf”.

And if you can’t get to a protest…

Don’t worry, you can still join in online – primarily by downloading Green Day’s single American Idiot. The idea is to greet the president to the UK by getting the single to No 1 on the UK charts. It seems to be working – it's currently at 9 on the iTunes top 10 and looks set to achieve its inspired motto: Make the American Idiot Great Again.

You can also contribute by donating online to various charities that are attempting to “undo” some of Trump’s policies, such as ActBlue – an umbrella portal where you can donate to around 12 charities all working with children and families who have been affected by the “zero tolerance” border policy.

Another option is to donate to the International Planned Parenthood Federation, which is working to fight the “global gag rule” and care for the most marginalised women across the world – or Water Aid, which is working to support women and girls with clean water, sanitation and hygiene.

It’s a small step, but alongside all the protests and marches, it sends a sign to the president of the United States that, while his policies might focus on negativity and division, people here in the UK want to spread messages of positivity and inclusion.

@radhikasanghani

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The "Baby Trump" balloon will fly over London during Trump's visit (Photo: Getty Images)
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