'Together against Trump,' thousands protest in London

LONDON, July 13 (Reuters) - Chanting "Donald Trump has got to go," tens of thousands of protesters marched through London on Friday waving banners and banging pots to demonstrate against the U.S. president on his first official visit to Britain.

Under a brilliant blue sky, demonstrators streamed through central London's main streets carrying placards saying "Dump Trump" and "Keep your tiny hands off women's rights." Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn was among the throng.

Organizers said 250,000 people were protesting in London and other demonstrations were expected in cities around the country, including Windsor where the U.S. President was due to have tea with Queen Elizabeth.

"Lock him in the tower," one homemade placard said there, just yards from where Prince Harry married Meghan Markle in May.

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Best images from UK protest against US President Donald Trump
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Yves Herman
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump, in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
A demonstrator wearing a cap takes part in an anti-Trump protest in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
A demonstrator carrying an anti-Trump billboard walks along a street during a protest in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
A man who gave his name as Kevin (L) and was born in the USA but living in London for 21 years makes a protest against the visit of U.S. President Donald Trump outside Windsor Castle in Windsor, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Kevin Coombs
Women, from a number of different protest groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Women, from a number of different protest groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Women, from a number of different protest groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Women and men, from a number of different protest groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
A protester carries an umbrella during an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Women, from a number of different protest groups, take part in an anti-Trump demonstration in central London, Britain, July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
A balloon portraying U.S. President Donald Trump as a baby is attached to a man's rucksack during a protest in Parliament Square, during the visit by Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers talk to demonstrators preparing to protest in Parliament Square, during the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Police officers talk to demonstrators preparing to protest in Parliament Square, during the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators prepare to protest in Parliament Square, during the visit by U.S. President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump in London, Britain July 13, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Pro-Trump demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Hannah McKay
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Peter Nicholls
Demonstrators protest outside the grounds of Blenheim Palace, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are attending a dinner with Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders, near Oxford, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Henry Nicholls
Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are staying, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are staying, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are staying, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are staying, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Demonstrators protest next to the specially erected fence surrounding the U.S. ambassador's residence, Winfield House, where U.S. President Donald Trump and the First Lady Melania Trump are staying, in London, Britain, July 12, 2018. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
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Police, who declined to put a number on the size of the demonstration, had sealed off parts of London including Piccadilly and Regent Street for marchers, while thousands filled Trafalgar Square to hear speeches.

"Trump is not welcome in Britain," said Grish Gregoran, 58, a shopkeeper who took the day off to attend the protests.

"We wanted to embarrass him and I think we have done that today. We know how sensitive he is. It is horrible to hear the inflammatory language that he uses and I am embarrassed that (Prime Minister) Theresa May has done so much to welcome him."

 

"DUMP TRUMP"

London regards its "special relationship" with the United States as a keystone of foreign policy and May has courted Trump ahead of Britain's departure from the European Union.

But some Britons see the U.S. leader as crude, volatile, unreliable and opposed to their values on a range of issues. Those demonstrating against Trump included women's rights campaigners, supporters of immigration and LGBT groups.

"Here, queer and angry," said one banner. "Immigration is not a crime," said another.

"Our message to our government and our prime minister is: 'We don't want a special relationship with bigots'," Len McCluskey, the head of the country's biggest trade union, told Reuters.

Activists kicked off the demonstrations on Friday by floating a six-meter-high (20-ft) blimp outside parliament depicting the U.S. president as a snarling orange baby.

Trump told the Sun newspaper he was avoiding the capital as much as possible.

"I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, (there is) no reason for me to go to London," he said.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who has clashed repeatedly with Trump on Twitter, defended the demonstrations as free speech. He said pro-Trump supporters would march on Saturday and some were present on Friday, kept away from the main demonstration by the police.

"The idea that we restrict freedom of speech, the right to assemble, the right to protest because somebody might be offended is a slippery slope," Khan told BBC Radio. (Writing by Kate Holton; additional reporting by Paul Sandle; Editing by Richard Balmforth and Robin Pomeroy)

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