Tall metal mesh barricades and concrete blocks have been erected around the perimeter of the US Ambassador’s swanky central London residence, Winfield House, where the US President will spend Thursday night.
Workers install temporary security fencing outside Winfield House on Wednesday ahead of the visit of President Donald Trump.
A sign attached to the fence reads: “No access — do not enter. A police security operation is taking place. This includes armed patrols, dog patrols, monitored CCTV and other measures.” Any contravention, it warns, “could result in force being used against you, your arrest and/or prosecution.”
The extra security measures may strike Londoners as incongruous, set amid the leafy surrounds of Regent’s Park, a spot popular with joggers, picnickers and families.
Winfield House is the only place where Trump will spend time in central London, where demonstrators are expected to gather in their tens of thousands for a march
on Friday afternoon, hours after a giant “Trump baby” balloon
is flown near the UK Parliament in an eye-catching stunt.
Speaking in Brussels as he wrapped up a contentious NATO summit
, Trump shrugged off concerns over demonstrations
, saying he had “great friendships” in Britain, where his mother was born.
“Yes, there might be protests,” he said. “But I believe the people in the UK, Scotland, Ireland — as you know I have property in Ireland, I have property all over — I think that those people, they like me a lot and they agree with me on immigration.”
Trump ‘not avoiding anything’
The US Ambassador to London, Woody Johnson, insisted last week that the President’s itinerary was not intentionally designed for him to avoid encountering throngs of protesters.
“The President is not avoiding anything,” he said. “The President is merely trying to get as impactful a trip as he can get in a 24-hour period.”
Johnson added that the President “appreciates free speech” and that he was “very focused on the special relationship” between the US and the UK.
Trump may not be able to ignore the presence of protesters entirely. Some plan to stage an “all-night noise protest” outside the barricades surrounding Winfield House later Thursday, with those attending urged to “bring pots, drums and vuvuzelas.”
Ahead of Trump’s arrival, the US embassy advised US citizens in London to “keep a low profile”
during Trump’s visit. “Be aware of your surroundings (and) exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings that may become violent,” it added.
Trump, who comes to Britain after an acrimonious NATO summit
in Brussels, is on a “working visit” rather than a full state occasion.
However, he is still being accorded the honor of a Thursday night dinner with May at Blenheim Palace
, the birthplace of celebrated UK wartime leader Winston Churchill.
The event will begin with a military parade featuring the bands of the Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards in the spectacular Great Court. The music will have an American flavor, with the “Liberty Fanfare” and the “National Emblem” chosen alongside “Amazing Grace.”