LONDON: Mayor of London Sadiq Khan will allow protesters to fly a blimp over the parliament portraying Donald Trump as an orange, snarling baby during the US president’s upcoming visit, his office said on Thursday, citing “the right to peaceful protest”.
According to an email response from Khan’s press office to Geo.tv’s request for comment, a spokesperson said: “The Mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms.
“His city operations team have met with the organisers and have given them permission to use Parliament Square Garden as a grounding point for the blimp.”
The spokesperson added that the London Mayor’s “main priority is the safety of all Londoners and visitors to our city”.
“We are working in very close coordination with the Metropolitan Police and other key agencies to ensure all protests are carried out safely and securely”, they added.
Trump, who arrives in a week’s time, will meet Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Theresa May, who was the first foreign leader to visit him after his inauguration last year.
Britain regards its close ties with the United States, which it calls the special relationship, as a pillar of its foreign policy as it prepares to leave the European Union (EU)
But some Britons see Trump as crude, volatile, and opposed to their values on a range of issues. Trump’s comments on militant attacks in Britain have sparked anger and he has often exchanged barbs on social media with the London mayor.
The spokesperson, however, mentioned that “the organisers will also need to receive the necessary approvals from the Metropolitan Police and National Air Traffic Service” for the six-metre orange Trump balloon, which has already gone viral on social media.
The protesters, who describe themselves as a group of anti-fascist art activists, managed to garner 1328 supporters who collectively were able to successfully raise £20,070 against the stretch target of £20,000, despite five days till the deadline.
The mayor’s office, at first, did not recognise “Trump Baby” as a legitimate protest, the demonstrators said.
“But following a huge groundswell of public support for our plan, it looks like City Hall has rediscovered its sense of humour,” activist Leo Murray said in a statement.
“Trump Baby will fly!”