UK Visit: Thousands joined Trump protest as US leader played golf

Trump plays golf amidst protests

Thousands took to the streets of Edinburgh in a third day of protests against Donald Trump's UK visit.

They demonstrated as the US president played golf during a visit to his Turnberry resort on the Ayrshire coast.

Mr. Trump is in Scotland with his wife and family on a private visit ahead of his summit with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday.

During his golf round he was booed by demonstrators gathered at the perimeter of the resort complex.

Earlier, police confirmed that they were investigating how a paraglider was able to fly over Turnberry with a banner criticising Mr. Trump.

The president's visit to Scotland has been accompanied by a major security operation.

Police snipers are positioned on tiers of temporary scaffolding overlooking the golf course, with a large number of other officers patrolling the grounds and surrounding area.

He travelled north of the border for the weekend after meeting Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers and The Queen at Windsor on Friday.

The police estimated that 9,000 people joined the Edinburgh demonstration. Organisers said they believed some 60,000 had taken to the streets.
The protest

The US president did not meet Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, however, she denied she had refused to see him.

At a gay pride event in Glasgow on Saturday, she told the BBC: "If the opportunity arises to meet the president I will do that and I'm sure if the opportunity arises in the future we will have lots to talk about, including the close and very important links between our two countries.

"In democracies, it's also important to be able to focus also on where we perhaps disagree, and lots of people disagree with the policies of the Trump administration."

While Mr. Trump was at Turnberry, police estimated that about 9,000 protesters walked from the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh to the Meadows for a "carnival of resistance".

The event also featured the giant Trump Baby balloon, which was banned from both Turnberry and Holyrood.

Protesters also filled George Square in Glasgow ahead of his arrival in Scotland.

However, the UK government's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox told the BBC that the anti-Trump campaigners were "an embarrassment to themselves".

He believed that the large scale protests in London and other cities "did not reflect the genuine good manners and hospitality of the British people".

As well as the protests in Edinburgh and at Turnberry, supporters of Mr. Trump staged a gathering outside the US Embassy in London.

Mr. Trump - whose mother was Scottish - and members of his family are spending the weekend at the hotel he bought in 2014 before departing on Sunday for the meeting with the Russian leader in Finland the following day.

The paraglider stunt, which happened shortly after Mr.Trump and his entourage arrived at Turnberry, was reportedly staged by Greenpeace.

Ben Stewart, a spokesman for the organisation, told the BBC: "It wasn't dangerous at all. We let the police know about 10 or 15 minutes before that we were coming in.

"We phoned them, we had someone on the police line who informed them. We thought it was important that the president actually saw a real-life protester.

"There's tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of people on the streets around the UK."

The police said no arrest had been made.

Police insisted they wanted to strike a balance between "protection and public safety and the public's right to peacefully protest".

However, Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams said officers were committed to tracing the person who flew the aircraft.

He added: "There are armed assets protecting the president - both from the US Secret Service and ourselves and the Met Police, who offer a close protection function as well.

"And there's no doubt anybody who breaches security around him puts themselves in grave danger.

"On this occasion we could assess the situation and we realised there was no direct threat to the president however it's absolutely something that is very serious."

The baby Trump balloon that featured in protests in London on Friday was a feature of the Edinburgh protest.

Speaking after talks at Chequers with Mrs. May, Mr. Trump said a US-UK trade deal "will absolutely be possible", hours after he told The Sun Theresa May's Brexit plan could kill an agreement.

Mr. Trump has often spoken of his love for Scotland and its people and had been a regular visitor to the country for many years, but this is his first trip since becoming the US leader.
~Courtesy: BBC

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