LONDON — Tens of thousands of demonstrators turned out in London alone. A “Trump Baby” balloon was launched into the sky above Parliament Square. Many people banged pots and pans and chanted slogans. Those were some of the ways people on Friday mounted protests at every stage of President Trump’s working visit to Britain.
The main protests came a day after the president’s trip was jolted by The Sun newspaper’s publication of an interview in which Mr. Trump gave a harsh assessment of Prime Minister Theresa May’s “Brexit” strategy and praised Boris Johnson, her Conservative Party rival, as a potentially great prime minister.
But later, Mr. Trump tried to repair the damage, calling Mrs. May “tough.”
The most anticipated installment of Britain’s “Stop Trump” protests — a giant orange balloon of Mr. Trump depicted as a pouting baby in a diaper and holding a smartphone — took flight in London earlier in the day.
As if they were waiting for a rocket launch, dozens of people — activists, tourists, children and bystanders taking time out from their commutes — gathered around the 19-foot balloon and counted down from 10 before it was released into the air.
“This is a victory,” said Leo Murray, an activist and the creator of the balloon. “People love it, he hates it, and it’s driven him out of London.”
Mr. Murray and other activists behind the inflatable “Trump Baby” have called the balloon a “symbol of resistance,” aimed at sending Mr. Trump a clear message that he is not welcome in Britain.
“The only way to get through to him is to get down to his level and talk in a language he understands — one of personal insults,” Mr. Murray has said.
“He mocks and insults anyone who doesn’t support him,” said Adam Cottrell, one of the activists behind the balloon protest, “so now he can see what it feels like.”
Not everyone was enthusiastic about the balloon. Lucy Lawson, an American expatriate, came to see it because it was close to her work, but while she opposes Mr. Trump’s policies, she said the protest was childish.
“Why are people going down to his level? Why are they being so childish?” she said. “It’s because of his childlike leadership that we are in this mess.”
Ms. Lawson asked one of the organizers why they had launched the balloon when they knew Mr. Trump would be barely in London.
“It’s going to swamp his Twitter feed,” Mr. Cottrell said. “There’s no way he doesn’t see this.”
Throngs of demonstrators began gathering at 2 p.m. for the national rally in sites like Trafalgar Square. Oxford Street, famous for its shops, was transformed into a carnival of slogans against Mr. Trump.
“Dump Trump,” “Child Snatcher” and “Trump Special Relationship: Say No,” some of the placards read. “Hey, ho, Donald Trump has got to go,” thousands of people chanted to the beat of carnival drums.
“This is epic,” said Steven Langley, holding up a banner that read, “Liar, liar, pants on fire.”
“Trump is the reason that the whole world order is in disarray,” said Peggy Hudson, 37, a doctoral student. “America used to lead the world, now it’s sending us all down the drain.”
Mr. Trump landed in Britain on Thursday for a two-day visit, during which he spent the night at Winfield House, the American ambassador’s residence in London. There, protesters banged pots and pans and played recordings of crying children separated from their parents at the Mexican border in an attempt to keep him awake.
On Friday morning, Mr. Trump headed to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for a military display, and traveled later to Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, for talks with Mrs. May on foreign policy issues. Then he and his wife, Melania, arrived at Windsor Castle to have tea with Queen Elizabeth II.
As the president’s visit progressed on Friday, one of the trending hashtags on Twitter was #LoveActually, referring to the 2003 romantic comedy. Twitter users said Mrs. May should channel Hugh Grant, who plays the British prime minister in the movie, and push back against Mr. Trump.
In the movie, the prime minister warns the American president, played by Billy Bob Thornton, that the countries’ “special relationship” was in danger of becoming a “bad relationship.”
“We may be a small country, but we’re a great one, too,” he says.
At a news conference at Chequers before the bilateral talks, Mr. Trump addressed The Sun’s article, insisting that he and Mrs. May had “probably never developed a better relationship” than during a dinner at Blenheim Palace on Thursday night. “The relationship is very, very strong,” he said.
Later, at a second news conference, he told reporters that he did not criticize Mrs. May in The Sun interview, calling her “an incredible woman.” He also said that the ties between the two countries were at the “highest level of special.”
Two hours after soaring above the city, the Trump Baby balloon was brought back to earth and landed on its tummy in Parliament Square.
The protests kicked into high gear later in the day, with people marching across London, banging drums, whooping and shouting slogans. Among the protesters were Muslims who held outdoor Friday Prayers at Cavendish Square Gardens in Central London, where they denounced Mr. Trump’s policies and rhetoric as divisive.
“We denounce policies, statements and narratives that turn one section of society against another,” said Anas Altikriti, the president of the Muslim Association of Britain, as dozens of Muslims knelt on prayer mats. “Unfortunately, this president has seen fit to divide his own people and subsequently to divide the people of our world.”
Amrani Jani, a musician, explained that it was because of Mr. Trump’s policies against Islamic countries that Muslims in the West feared publicly displaying their religion as they had done on Friday.
“There’s so many people that signed up but didn’t turn up today because they are afraid of the kind of antagonistic behavior that Trump’s language influences,” Mr. Jani said. “He puts Muslims and terrorists in the same basket, and that is very dangerous.”
As the call to prayer blasted out through a microphone in the park, some passers-by shouted expletives at the group.
“Since Trump, people feel empowered to tell us to get out or go home,” Mr. Jani said. “Well, this is home.”
In Windsor, the sweltering heat did not discourage a good number of protesters from turning out, and soon enough High Street filled up. Except for scarce chants of “Go Home,” the protest was a calm one, during which posters and placards did most of the talking.
“Lock the criminal up,” read one that featured the president with a drawn-in mustache resembling Hitler’s. Messages such as “Where are the babies, Donald?,” “Women Against Trump” and “Dump Trump” were written on other posters.
“There’s really nothing positive to say about him,” said James Rice, 24, a student who came to the protest in a wheelchair.
But among the anti-Trump crowd were a few who had come to Windsor to support the president. Gerry Hoey, 53, was one of them. “He’s fighting against corruption,” said Mr. Hoey, who had traveled from Dublin.
Almost three hours into the protest, the anti-Trump crowd found its voice, when three people waved a large “Trump Make America Great Again” flag.
On Saturday, Trump supporters planned to march from the United States Embassy in London to Whitehall, where government offices are concentrated. Far-right groups planned to rally, too.
Follow Ceylan Yeginsu and Iliana Magra on Twitter: @CeylanWrites and @Magraki.
Ceylan Yeginsu reported from London, and Iliana Magra from Windsor, England. Kimiko de Freytas-Tamura contributed reporting from London.
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