Activists will be able to fly a giant balloon that some are calling “Trump baby” now that the mayor of London is fine with the balloon flying near parliament during the president’s United Kingdom trip, Sky News reports.
London mayor Sadiq Khan’s Greater London Authority gave approval for the flight’s request after thousands signed a petition and a crowdfunding campaign raised more than £16,000 in order to make this effort possible.
A spokesperson for the Mayor of London said that “the Mayor supports the right to peaceful protest and understands that this can take many different forms.”
The spokesperson added that the mayor’s “city operations team have met with the organisers and have given them permission to use Parliament Square Garden as a grounding point for the blimp.”
The protest group calls itself anti-fascist “art activists” and are now working with the Met and the Civil Aviation Authority to make sure the display happens safely.
Activist Leo Murray told Sky News: “We didn’t get off to the best start with the Mayor’s office over this, who originally told us that they didn’t recognise Trump Baby as legitimate protest.
“But following a huge groundswell of public support for our plan, it looks like City Hall has rediscovered its sense of humour. Trump Baby will fly!”
Describing Mr Trump as a “dangerous excuse for a president”, the group’s spokesperson, Nona Hurkmans, said: “We are just a small group of friends who set out to show that fascists are not welcome in the UK.
The protests come at a time when a few of the mayor’s critics would rather him put his focus on domestic issues like the spike in murders. London police have investigated more murders than their New York counterparts over the past two months, according to statistics reviewed by The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.
“The mayor is deeply concerned by violent crime in the capital — every life lost to violent crime is a tragedy,” a spokesperson for Mayor Sadiq Khan said in a past statement. “Our city remains one of the safest in the world.”
The Denver Post reports that Police and community workers say London’s surge in violence is partly driven by battles over control of the illegal drug trade and a “postcode war” among street gangs, with killings that are both random and calculated.
London has experienced a phenomenon of “acid attacks” where dangerous acid is tossed in the face of the victim. 465 attacks recorded in 2017, up from 395 the previous year and 255 in 2015. The attacks increased six-fold over six years.
Some have criticized London Mayor Sadiq Khan, who oversees London’s Metropolitan Police, though the British government funds most of the police budget. Its funding was cut by more than 20 percent since 2010.
The Denver Post reports that Khan said that rising crime is a national problem and “I can’t solve it by myself.”