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Thousands flood London to protest Trump's UK visit

Thousands took to the streets of central London on Tuesday to protest Trump's visit. [Getty]

Date of publication: 4 June, 2019

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Thousands took to the streets of central London on Tuesday to protest Trump's visit, with the infamous blimp of the US president once again flying outside the Houses of Parliament.

Thousands took to the streets of central London on Tuesday to protest the visit of Donald Trump, with the infamous blimp of the US president once again flying outside the Houses of Parliament.

People gathered under the shadow of Nelson's Column in Trafalgar Square for the "Carnival of Resistance" against the US leader, ahead of his meeting with outgoing British Prime Minister Theresa May at nearby Downing Street.

The demonstrators booed and shouted expletives as Trump's motorcade swept past on its way to Downing Street.

A giant effigy of Trump sitting on a toilet while firing off tweets was set up next to the square's famous lion statues, as hundreds waved placards reading "Dump Trump".

A number of political figures addressed the banner-waving demonstrators, including the main opposition Labour party leader Jeremy Corbyn, who warned about the rise of the "far-right", saying it had "no answers for the people that are desperate in all parts of the world".

Protesters at Trafalgar Square were split into different sections, with some highlighting Trump's climate policies, others waving Palestinian flags and socialists flying hammer and sickle banners.

Scuffles broke out on the edges of the anti-Trump protest after pro-Trump supporters, known far right and Yellow Vest UK activists, exited a pub on Whitehall to goad the march just as it started.

A Trump supporter attacked an elderly anti-Trump protester and police intervened, pushing far right activists into a pub to prevent further disorder.

Trump praises Johnson, boycotts Corbyn

Speaking at a press conference later on Tuesday, Trump said he declined a request to meet Britain's Labour main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn, who led protests against his state visit to Britain.

Trump told a press conference that reports of mass demonstrations were "fake news" and they were in fact "very small", adding that in criticising him, Corbyn was a "somewhat negative force".

But he reiterated his opinion that Boris Johnson would make a good UK prime minister and praised another contender for the job, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

"I know Boris, I like him, I've liked him for a long time. I think he'd do a very good job," he said.

British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her resignation last month after failing to get her plan for leaving the European Union through parliament, forcing her to twice delay Brexit, now set for October 31.

Trump has repeatedly criticised May's strategy for leaving the EU, and ahead of his visit urged her successor to walk away from any deal if they could not get an agreement they liked.

He rowed back a little on this in his press conference, which followed bilateral talks at Downing Street.

He confirmed he advised May to sue the EU but admitted it may not have worked.

"I would have sued and settled, maybe, but you never know," Trump said, adding of May: "She's probably a better negotiator than I am."

He added: "I think you deserve a lot of credit."

'Everything on the table'

Trump also discussed a future trade deal with the UK after it leaves the European Union, saying everything is on the table.

"There is tremendous potential in that trade deal. I say probably two and even three times of what we're doing right now," he told a joint press conference with Prime Minister Theresa May.

Supporters of Brexit believe a new trade agreement with the United States is crucial to Britain's success outside the EU.

But there are concerns among some British politicians that the much-loved state-run national health service would be opened up to US private companies.

"When you're dealing on trade everything is on the table. So NHS or anything else. A lot more than that," Trump told reporters.

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