- Title: Thousands rally against Trump visit to UK
- Date: 20th February 2017
- Summary: ***WARNING CONTAINS FLASH PHOTOGRAPHY*** VARIOUS OF PROTESTERS DANCING
- Embargoed: 6th March 2017 21:25
- Keywords: United Kingdom visit Donald Trump protest London
- Location: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- City: LONDON, ENGLAND, UNITED KINGDOM
- Country: United Kingdom
- Topics: Fundamental Rights/Civil Liberties,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00264BT8P3
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: The British government on Monday (February 20) defended its decision to offer U.S. President Donald Trump a lavish state visit and an audience with the queen later this year, defying protests outside parliament and dissent from lawmakers.
The visit has spurred 1.8 million people in Britain to sign a petition saying he should not be given a state visit because it could embarrass Queen Elizabeth.
As parliament debated that petition on Monday - a symbolic discussion which has no power to force the government to withdraw its invitation - around 7,000 protesters gathered outside with placards bearing slogans such as "Love America, Hate Trump".
"He's enabling a lot of people to commit reprehensible insidious acts because he's a man of power and they feel they have the power to do so. I feel like it might be slightly dangerous him coming here. If he does we will fight him every step of the way, said 18-year-old Muslim, Rihab.
Since taking office in January, Trump has sparked global protests over plans to ban migrants from seven Muslim-majority countries, and from women activists who call him misogynistic.
Trump says his immigration orders are aimed at protecting the United States and that his opponents have misrepresented his intentions.
British Prime Minister Teresa May has said she would not consider cancelling the visit. Managing the backlash adds to her diplomatic "to-do" list as she sets about reuniting a country divided over Brexit and negotiating a divorce with European trading partners.
The protest was organised by the Stop Trump Coalition, a collective of protest groups in Britain uniting against the possible visit.
The opposition Labour party's Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell addressed the crowd gathered in Parliament Square, and called for the government to withdraw the invitation.
May's government wants to reaffirm the "special relationship" with the United States and secure a trade deal as Britain prepares to leave the European Union.
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