Thousands of people have brought the streets of London to standstill by protesting Donald Trump in the most British way possible: with politeness, good humour, and absolutely obscene amounts of swearing.
Over 60,000 signed up to attend the event designed to make clear that Donald Trump was not welcome—and that was before he caused outrage by blabbing to tabloid newspaper The Sun trying to influence the direction of Brexit and talking up Boris Johnson as a future prime minister.
Trump insisted earlier in the week that "they like me" in the U.K. but when The Daily Beast went down to the protest, drenched in sweat in the midst of a rare British heatwave, there was only a mix of anger and derision on show. The first thing many saw coming off the tube at the protest's beginning was a ten-foot-tall, golden, defiant structure of an outstretched middle finger, which in many ways summed up the entire event.
After some speeches by environmental, anti-racism, and LGBT speakers, the crowd of tens of thousands began snaking its way down to the city's famous Trafalgar Square making a lot of noise with drums, chants, and whistles—and displaying hundreds, if not thousands, of sweary signs.
The Daily Beast walked alongside the protesters and asked why they felt it was important as Brits to come to the streets and give such a fierce reception to the visiting president of their country's closest ally.
Murray Brown, who travelled to London from Cambridge, said: "Well, I don't like fascism, I don't like homophobia, I don't like slagging off other countries and calling them shitholes because they're third world countries. I don't like sexism, grabbing women. Where do you start? There's so many reasons it's hard to pick, you just don't know where to start."
Asked what he'd do if Donald Trump was standing in front of him, Brown said bluntly: "I'd tell him to fuck right off and not come back."
Another protester—holding a sign saying "We don't want a piss-haired, yellow-bellied, orange-faced, tiny-handed, pussy-grabbing, kid-stealing, golf-cheating, lie-telling, buffoon—we've already got Boris Johnson"—said he was furious that Trump was trying to "destroy the EU" and have an influence the direction of British politics.
Alan Hamilton from London said: "If someone behaves badly then they should be shown that their behaviour is totally unacceptable in the modern world. Seventy years ago we fought against fascism as a country and the forces of the right definitely seem to be reforming. Hopefully, the people here will make connections together and make a difference."
Asked for his message for Trump, he said: "I very much doubt he'd take much notice of what I had to say, and his recollection of the conversation would be massively different to the one that we actually had."
British people take an enormous amount of pride in creative protest signs and there were plenty, from the clever to the ridiculous, that raised laughter at the event and from those following on social media.
Some of the most popular signs have included: "Super callous fragile racist sexist Nazi POTUS," "Trump wears poorly-tailored suits," "I came here to drink tea and fight fascism and I've just finished my tea," "Feed him to the corgis," "Lock him in the tower," "Knitters against Trump," and, last but not least, "Not usually one to make signs but crikey."
The organized London protest wasn't the only act of insurrection against the visiting president. The now notorious Trump Baby blimp was hoisted outside the historic Palace of Westminster earlier on Friday morning, while a Dalek with a Trump wig on was seen paroling the streets of Whitehall where the majority of government buildings are based.
The capital also saw a women's march before the main protest, in which protesters brought pots and pans and other kitchen implements to make noise. “They are symbolic of women’s power and we are telling that misogynist that he is not welcome here,” said protester Lucy O’Brian.
Trump didn't see the protests with his own eyes. Protestors made sure to jeer at every passing helicopter just in case it did contain the president, but while the gathering was taking place he was at the prime minister's country residence, Chequers, after which he met the Queen outside of London in Windsor. He then plans to fly north to Scotland.
But Trump confirmed his feelings have been hurt by the negative reception given to him in London. In his interview with The Sun, he said: “I guess when they put out blimps to make me feel unwelcome, no reason for me to go to London. I used to love London as a city. I haven’t been there in a long time. But when they make you feel unwelcome, why would I stay there?”
His trip is unlikely to have ingratiated him to the British public either. Professor Peter Piper told The Daily Beast at the protest: "I totally disagree with Trump and I decided to come down here because I was so angry about recent comments trying to influence the British political process."
So after his trip to Scotland, where he faces similar—if not even swearier—protests, Donald Trump will surely leave the U.K. in no doubt about what large swathes of the population think of him.
We suspect he won't be hurrying back.