Trump confirms controversial UK state visit despite calls for protest
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday his controversial state visit to Britain will go ahead, adding that he was hoping for a "very powerful" trade deal with London "very, very quickly", despite calls for protests.
During a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May at the G20 summit in Germany, Trump said they would have "tremendous talks" and reach "a very powerful deal" on trade "very, very quickly".
But any negotiations for such an accord would further drive a wedge between Britain and the European Union, which has warned London against striking any separate agreement before its divorce from the bloc was complete.
Back home, May has been derided for seeking to curry favour with Trump and has come under fire for inviting him for a state visit.
A petition against his visit reached more than 1.8 million signatures.
London's mayor Sadiq Khan said Trump shouldn't receive a state visit in Britain because of his "cruel" policies on immigration.
But questions about the trip arose after it got no mention in Queen Elizabeth II's annual speech to parliament in June, when it is customary for the monarch to list upcoming state visits.
Asked if the state visit would still go ahead, Trump indicated that they would be working on a date.
"I will be going to London," he added.
In February, thousands of protesters rallied outside Britain's parliament while lawmakers debated a petition to cancel Trump's state visit after it gained over 1.8 million signatures.
Demonstrators carried placards bearing slogans such as "No to Trump" and "Dump Trump" as they gathered in Parliament Square in the latest rally against Trump.
"He's promoting racist policies, he's normalising racism and misogyny and Islamophobia," protester Benjamin Kari told AFP.
Another demonstrator said he believes Trump personified hate and bigotry.
"It's about the rise of hate and extremism, which is personified by Trump. It's not just about him, but he represents what's happening in the world at the moment," protester Alison Dale told Reuters.
The government rejected the petition and stressed that the invitation still stands, but parliament went ahead and debated the issue due to the popularity of the petition.