Amid reports that President Donald Trump may make an unscheduled visit to Downing Street in the coming weeks, protesters in the U.K. are saying—that “whenever and however” the U.S. president arrives—they will be ready to take to the streets.
The president is set to visit Poland Thursday, ahead of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, this weekend. He will also visit France for Bastille Day on July 14. U.K. government sources confirmed they had been warned the president could also visit Turnberry, his golf resort in Scotland.
“There is a window of opportunity for the president to visit Britain when he is in Europe later this month,” a government source told the U.K.’s Sunday Times. “It is likely it will be hastily arranged and it is possible no official confirmation of his visit will be given until at least 24 hours before to stop any large-scale protests against his visit from being mobilised.”
But time constraints aren’t deterring anti-Trump organizing efforts in London and across the United Kingdom.
Guardian columnist and Stop Trump coalition co-founder Owen Jones urged his Twitter followers to “commit to protesting this bigot at short notice,” adding “any visit by Donald Trump on British soil will be met by nationwide mass protests.”
Donald Trump is planning to sneak into Britain to avoid protests. RT if you’re willing to commit to protesting this bigot at short notice ✊
— Owen Jones (@OwenJones84) July 2, 2017
“This month’s visit, if it happens, is a way of him sneaking in the backdoor in the hope that he can save face for himself and May. But we’ll oppose him whenever and however he comes to the U.K.,” said Nick Dearden, director of Global Justice Now, a Stop Trump coalition member. “We won’t allow Trump’s presidency to be normalised, and we’ll make sure Theresa May pays a political cost for supporting Trump and his politics of hate.”
A spokesman for Prime Minister Theresa May said Monday the U.K. government was not aware of any plans for Trump’s potential visit, and declined to comment on whether May would meet with Trump if he makes a surprise stop in London.
“We expect him to go to his golf course. We are aware he might want to see the Prime Minister,” a government source told the U.K.’s Daily Express. “The Americans haven’t requested that he comes and we haven’t invited him, but we aware it might happen.”
May invited Trump to the U.K. when, in January, she became the first foreign leader to visit the White House during this administration. The U.K.’s Sun reported in February that Trump and May had agreed to delay his visit to avoid large-scale demonstrations, with a U.K. government source telling the paper, “Trump still really wants to come this year, but he wants the heat to die down a bit first.”
Last month, just after the U.K. general election, an official state visit was postponed because fears of mass protests persisted, which Dearden called “an incredible victory.” Trump had told May in a phone-call that he would hold off on an official visit until he had the support of the British people, according to the Guardian.
Before the June visit was postponed, some Brits had planned to greet the president by mooning him, and circulated the #ShowYourRumpToTrump social media campaign.
The White House has denied today’s reports of an unofficial visit, with White House press secretary Sean Spicer telling the Financial Times, “While he looks forward to visiting the U.K., it will not be in the next two weeks.”