Massive crowd protests outside Parliament against Trump's state visit to Britain
- Author: Jon Douglas Feb 21, 2017,
Feb 21, 2017, 0:08
Thousands of protesters gathered outside the British parliament as MPs debated whether Donald Trump should receive a state visit.
Opening the debate, Labour Party legislator Paul Flynn pointed out that only two other USA presidents - George W. Bush and Barack Obama - have been invited for state visits since the 1950s.
A petition opposing granting Trump a state visit gained more than 1.8 million signatures in just a few days, but signatories were mostly concentrated in London, Oxford, Bristol, Cambridge and Brighton.
The Metropolitan Police are braced for angry protests on Parliament Square as MPs respond to a huge petition against the visit going ahead.
As the petitions declaimed, President trump shouldn't be invited for an official state visit as it would cause a great deal of humiliation to the now seated ruler, Queen Elizabeth.
"We look forward to welcoming President Trump once dates and arrangements are finalized", it said.
MPs will spend up to three hours discussing a petition calling for the visit planned for later this year to be downgraded because of Trump's "well-documented misogyny and vulgarity".
"Which one of us has not made some ridiculous sexual comment some time in the past?"
A spokesman for Downing Street, the headquarters of the British government, told the United Kingdom tabloid The Mirror that "there is a process for state visits".
Despite the heated discussion, the debate was purely symbolic and will not affect plans for the state visit, expected later this year. The shadow home secretary, Diane Abbott, addressed the crowds, as did Lucas - who emerged from the debate to describe Trump as a "bully and a bigot".
"Our hope is that this mass movement can swing public opinion on a range of issues in a way that progressives have never managed before, and on issues on which we have been losing for decades", the group's spokesman said.
Mr Khan said the executive-ordered travel ban aimed at people from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has stalled in the U.S. courts, and the suspension of refugee admissions were reasons not to be "rolling out the red carpet".
"It is hard to know whether to be appalled at the morality of this invitation or just astonished at the stupidity of the invitation", said SNP MP Alex Salmond, who called May's outreach "stomach-churning".
Smaller protests in support of immigrants are due to take place around Britain, including in Edinburgh, Manchester, Liverpool, Cardiff and Newcastle. Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, said she had once urged Trump to come to her constituency to share a curry and meet a Muslim chief superintendent, headteacher, health workers and so on. The Queen also acts as the host and have her guests stay in either the Windsor Castle or The Buckingham palace. The mayor of London has also joined the anti-Trump resistance, who supports the petition to deny Trump an official visit based on the Muslim ban and his stances on immigration.