Organizers of protests against a US President Donald Trump’s visit to the United Kingdom have warned that more than a million demonstrators could take to the streets in an event of a visit by Trump early next year.
The “Stop Trump” group that was set up shortly after the president’s inauguration in February, said that thousands of people have signed a pledge during the last 24-hours since — particularly on the social media — to join a protest if he visits the country.
“The British government knows that the protests against a Trump visit could be the biggest we’ve ever seen in the country,” said a group’s spokesman Evening Standard. “Upwards of a million people could take to the streets.”
“No doubt that’s a factor not only in the delay over the visit but also the secrecy surrounding the details,” he said. “But there’s no escape. We could mobilize hundreds of thousands at a day’s notice.”
The group that has the support of several high profile politicians has been receiving the responses since Wednesday, when Trump sparked outrage in Britain for re-tweeting three unverified anti-Muslim videos posted by a British far-right group.
Trump’s move was condemned by politicians as well including Prime Minister Theresa May who said that Trump was “wrong” to share the unverified videos from a “hateful” group such as Britain First, which “peddles lies and stokes tensions.”
One of the supporters of the group, Owen Jones, said the planned protests were entirely justified.
“What we are talking about here is a person who has intervened in our internal affairs to promote and support propaganda by the British neo-Nazi movement,” he said. “There is a broader point here about bigotry and racism … and about Donald Trump and the nature of racism and fascism.”
He said if the British people “be serious about racism and Islamophobia and all the rest, that means standing against Donald Trump and all that he promotes.”
Weyman Bennett, a member of the Stand up to Racism group, which co-organized a recent protest against Trump in London, said, “When Islamophobia and racism is normalized, racist and Islamophobic attacks increase.”
“We’ve already seen a shocking rise in hate crime – Trump’s tweets and potential visit can only make things worse,” he added.
London’s Muslim mayor Sadiq Khan also urged May to called on the government to cancel any state visit by Trump.
Khan said on Thursday that Trump was promoting a “vile, extremist group that exists solely to sow division and hatred.”
The British government had previously issued an invitation to the US president for 2018, which was accepted, but the details and timing had not yet been arranged.