THOUSANDS of anti-Donald Trump protesters marched through central London yesterday as the president met Theresa May just yards away in Downing Street.
Organisers claimed around 75,000 people braved the rain to march down Whitehall, a turn-out far lower than the figure of 250,000 that activists had been predicting. Others suggested just 30,000 had attended.
A string of speakers, including Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn and Green Party MP Caroline Lucas, praised the demonstrators for ‘standing up’ to a president who has regularly faced criticism over his racist and sexist language and stance on climate change.
Mr Corbyn also hit out at Mr Trump for his tweets criticising mayor of London Sadiq Khan.
He said: ‘I’m very disappointed, particularly today on the wonderful festival of Eid, that our mayor of London has been attacked as he has.
‘I am proud that our city has a Muslim mayor, that we can chase down Islamophobia, anti-Semitism, any form of racism within our society.’ He said he hoped one day to ‘have that dialogue to bring about a better and more peaceful world’.
Other speakers included shadow home secretary Diane Abbott and shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry, prompting protest MC Ash Sarkar to joke that ‘about 80 per cent of the shadow cabinet is up here’.
Musician Brian Eno also addressed the crowd, telling them: ‘I’m very surprised to see you all because according to Donald Trump you don’t actually exist, and the British are greeting him warmly on the streets of London right now.’
Mr Trump was kept well away from the demonstration by road closures, metal barriers and more than 3,000 police. Earlier in the day, his motorcade was seen driving past the ‘Trump baby’ protest blimp in Parliament Square as he made his journey to No.10.
Boos could be heard as Mr Trump made his way to his meeting with Mrs May. He told reporters: ‘I didn’t see the protesters until just a while ago and it was a very, very small group of people put in for political reasons, so it was fake news.’