Thousands of protesters gathered outside Parliament as MPs began debating Donald Trump’s state visit to Britain.
— Daniel Jackson (@Danoogie) February 20, 2017
Anti-Trump chants were heard from Parliament Square before the debate, and appeared to die down as Labour MP Paul Flynn opened proceedings.
MPs were debating a petition signed by more than 1.85 million people, calling for the visit to be stripped of the trappings of a state occasion in order to avoid causing “embarrassment” to the Queen.
They were also considering an alternative petition, backed by almost 312,000 signatories, demanding the state visit goes ahead.
The Stop Trump coalition has called a nationwide day of action and dozens of protests have been co-ordinated by the One Day Without Us movement celebrating the contribution of immigrants to British society.
The rally in Parliament Square, which organisers claimed will attract more than 20,000 people, will be addressed by speakers including joint Green Party leader Caroline Lucas and comic Shappi Khorsandi.
Calls for the state visit to be cancelled have been backed by London mayor Sadiq Khan, who hit out at the president’s “cruel and shameful” policies.
Khan said the controversial tycoon’s travel ban aimed at people from seven Muslim-majority countries, which has run into trouble in the US courts, and the suspension of refugee admissions were reasons not to be “rolling out the red carpet”.
Commons Speaker John Bercow has also become embroiled in the row after effectively banning Trump from addressing MPs and peers during his visit.
Trump is only the third US president to be given the honour of a state visit.
Some believe Trump was invited too soon in his already highly controversial presidency.
Barack Obama only received an invitation after 758 days, while it took 978 days before his predecessor, George W Bush, was offered a state visit, compared with seven days for Trump.
Meanwhile, the protest also reached other cities such as Manchester and Glasgow, where #stoptrump rallies were being held: