US President Donald Trump is unwilling to visit the United Kingdom unless British prime minister Theresa May can guarantee there will not be protests against him.
The International Business Times reports, “Trump is refusing to visit the UK unless May can ensure that he is not met with protests. Advisers who had been listening to the phone call are reported to have been ‘astonished’ at the demands.”
Newsweek adds, “While visiting the White House a year ago, May invited Trump for an official state visit. But Trump has yet to cross the pond to a country where he is wildly unpopular. In the days after May issued her invitation, protests erupted in the UK, and more than 1.8 million people signed a petition to stop Trump’s visit, partially in response to the travel ban he placed on several Muslim-majority countries.”
Trump recently cancelled his planned visit to London stating he didn’t like the location of the new US Embassy there. But the Newsweek article adds, “Reports earlier this month indicated that Trump had actually nixed the trip over fears of protests against his visit.”
London Mayor Sadiq Khan says, “It appears that President Trump got the message from the many Londoners who love and admire America and Americans but find his policies and actions the polar opposite of our city’s values of inclusion, diversity and tolerance. His visit would without doubt have been met by mass peaceful protests.”
In January 2017, The Globe and Mail reported, “Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Trump have pledged to meet, but a high-profile visit to Parliament any time soon seems unlikely. Sources familiar with the Trudeau government’s plans say Canadian officials are worried that mass protests would disrupt Mr. Trump’s visit to Canada, and that view has been shared with the President’s team.”
But now the Trudeau government is doing what it can to ensure that Trump doesn’t see protests when he travels to Quebec for the G7 summit this coming June 8-9.
As noted in this blog, an Integrated Security Unit (led by the Royal Canadian Mounted Police partnered with the Sûreté du Québec, the Service de police de la Ville de Québec and the Canadian Armed Forces) formed for this summit has announced that they will establish a ‘free speech area’ for the public when the leaders are meeting.
The RCMP website states, “During the G7 Summit, the ISU will ensure that the right to peaceful assembly and freedom of expression for all is respected. A free speech area will be set up for this purpose in La Malbaie for the duration of the event. The location has not yet been determined. We will share this information as soon as possible.”
The Council of Canadians has opposed previous ‘free speech zones’, notably at the time of the North American Leaders’ summit in Montebello, Quebec (in August 2007) and the G20 summit in Toronto (in June 2010).
The Council of Canadians has also launched a petition against Trump’s visit to Canada. To join with the 15,557 people who have already signed that petition, please click here.