‘Trump Baby’ Balloon Takes Flight, as Protests in UK Take Off


LONDON — The most anticipated installment of Britain’s “Stop Trump” protests — a giant orange balloon of President Trump depicted as a pouting baby in a diaper and holding a smartphone — took flight on Friday from Parliament Square in London.

As if they were waiting for a rocket launch, dozens of excited people — including 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.

Thousands of demonstrators are preparing for a national rally in London at 2 p.m. to protest Mr. Trump’s policies.

“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.”

The working visit was already upended by The Sun’s publication of an interview with Mr. Trump in which he 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. The article was published just as Mr. Trump and Mrs. May were wrapping up dinner at Blenheim Palace.

Mr. Trump spent the night at Winfield House, the American ambassador’s residence in London, where protesters said they had aimed to keep him awake by banging pots and pans and playing recordings of crying children separated from their parents at the Mexican border.

On Friday morning, Mr. Trump and his wife, Melania, headed to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst for a military display, and were to travel later to Chequers, the prime minister’s country residence, for talks with Mrs. May on a range of foreign policy issues.

Ms. Lawson asked one of the organizers why they had launched the balloon when they knew Mr. Trump would not be in London.

“It’s going to swamp his Twitter feed,” Mr. Cottrell said. “There’s no way he doesn’t see this.”

Thousands of people had signed a petition to have the Trump balloon fly over the golf course in Scotland where Mr. Trump plans to spend the weekend, but the Scottish authorities turned them down on Thursday.

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Amid the visit and the reaction to the Trump interview with The Sun, 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.

In a news conference at Chequers, Mr. Trump insisted that he and Mrs. May had “probably never developed a better relationship” than during Thursday night’s dinner at Blenheim Palace.

“The relationship is very, very strong,” he said. “We really have a very good relationship.”





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