Protesters are preparing to spring into action at short notice after it emerged that Downing Street is braced for a snap visit from US President Donald Trump in the next two weeks.
A formal state visit, which was expected to take place over the summer after British Prime Minister Theresa May personally extended an invitation when she visited the White House late last year, was postponed last month amid fears that it could be disrupted by mass protests.
However, Whitehall sources confirmed that the government had been warned that Trump might visit Turnberry, his golf resort in Scotland, during his trip to Europe between attending the G20 summit in Hamburg this weekend and joining Bastille Day celebrations in France on Friday next week.
The US president would be expected to come to Downing Street to meet with May for informal talks as part of any such visit, although final confirmation is likely to be given with just 24 hours’ notice to minimize the risk of disruption.
May invited Trump to Britain seven days after his inauguration when she became the first foreign leader to visit him in the White House.
Protesters, parliamentarians and trade unions in February vowed to hold the largest demonstrations in UK history if Trump made a state visit to the UK.
They formed the “Stop Trump” coalition and even hired a permanent staff member.
Early last month, just after the UK general election, it emerged that Trump had told May that he did not want to go ahead with the state visit until the British public supported his coming, fearing large-scale demonstrations.
After the latest rumors of a presidential visit, Stop Trump campaigner and Guardian columnist Owen Jones placed his Twitter followers on high alert, tweeting on Sunday night: “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.”
Thousands responded by retweeting the post.
On his tour of Europe, Trump is breaking with tradition by visiting Poland ahead of the G20 summit before he makes a presidential visit to traditional allies Britain, France or Germany.
Former Polish prime minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski, a founder of the ruling Law and Justice party, accused Britain of jealousy over Trump’s decision to visit Poland first.
“We have new success, Trump’s visit,” he said. “Others envy it, the British are attacking us because of it.”
Meanwhile, Trump has been accused of encouraging violence against journalists after he tweeted a video of himself at a pro-wrestling event throwing a man with a CNN logo for a head to the floor.
The White House did not respond immediately to a request for comment.
‘CONFESSED’: A court in Beijing said that former CCP member Ren Zhiqiang abused his power at a state firm and embezzled almost US$7.14 million of public funds A Chinese tycoon who called Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) a clown and criticized his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic was yesterday jailed for 18 years for corruption, bribery and embezzlement of public funds. Ren Zhiqiang (任志強) — once among the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) inner circle — disappeared from the public eye in March, shortly after penning an essay that lambasted Xi’s pandemic response. His outspokenness had earned the former chairman of state-owned property developer Huayuan Group the nickname “Big Cannon.” Yesterday’s verdict said that Ren embezzled almost 50 million yuan (US$7.4 million) of public funds and accepted bribes worth 1.25 million
AUSTRALIAN SITE: China has had a contract with SSC’s Yatharagga station since at least 2011, but the last time it used it was in June 2013. No final date has been given China would lose access to a strategic space tracking station in Western Australia when its contract expires, the facility’s owners said, a decision that cuts into Beijing’s expanding space exploration and navigational capabilities in the Pacific region. The Swedish Space Corp (SSC) has had a contract allowing Beijing access to the satellite antenna at the station since at least 2011. The station is located next to an SSC satellite station primarily used by the US and its agencies, including NASA. The Swedish state-owned company said it would not enter into any new contracts at the Australian site to support Chinese customers after
OFF BORDER ISLAND: The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel wearing a life jacket and leaving behind his shoes, indicating an intentional move, Seoul said North Korean soldiers shot dead a suspected South Korean defector at sea and burned his body as a COVID-19 precaution after he was interrogated in the water over several hours, Seoul military officials said yesterday. It is the first killing of a South Korean citizen by North Korean forces for a decade, and comes with Pyongyang at high alert over the COVID-19 pandemic and inter-Korean relations at a standstill. The fisheries official disappeared from a patrol vessel near the western border island of Yeonpyeong on Monday, the official said. More than 24 hours later, North Korean forces located him in their waters and
The scarcity of commercial flights landing at Sydney Airport has been a disaster for airlines and workers, but for hobby pilots the COVID-19 pandemic has provided the opportunity of a lifetime. The quieter-than-usual runways mean that private pilots have been given the chance to land at the international airport for the first time. When Sydney Flight College club captain Tim Lindley put out a call, he received an overwhelming response. He eventually organized for 14 light aircraft to fly into Sydney airport on Sunday. “For a lot of the pilots involved, including myself, it was a childhood dream to land in a big