Nicola Sturgeon has been warned that protests against Donald Trump’s visit to Scotland could turn against the Scottish Government if the First Minister agreed to an “unacceptable” meeting with the US president.
A spokeswoman for Scotland United Against Trump, which is organising demonstrations across Scotland, said they would protest at any meeting between Ms Sturgeon and Mr Trump after reports of behind-the-scenes talks between the Scottish Government and the White House to arrange an encounter.
Those claims were played down by the government in Edinburgh, which insisted no approach had been made by US authorities. “There is no meeting scheduled, but we have previously said that we would consider a meeting, should one be proposed,” the Scottish Government said.
“Scotland has deep and long-standing ties of family, friendship and business with the United States, which will continue to endure.
“At the same time, we will not compromise our fundamental values of equality, diversity and human rights and we expect these values to be made clear during the presidential visit to the UK.” Organisers said they expected the number taking part in this week’s protests to exceed the 7,000 who marched against the US president’s travel ban on citizens from predominantly Muslim states.
Ms Sturgeon stripped the US billionaire of his membership of the GlobalScot group of international advocates for Scottish business after his call during the US election campaign for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States”. Labour, Liberal Democrat and Green politicians are expected to join protests in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Aberdeen, as well as representatives from the SNP, whose Westminster leader Ian Blackford said Mr Trump’s visit should be cancelled after controversy over the separation of migrant children from their parents along the Mexican border.
Protests are also expected at the Trump Turnberry resort in Ayrshire, where the US president is expected to stay for at least one night over the weekend. It will be overlooked by a giant balloon depicting the president as a baby – a sight that will also appear in London when Mr Trump arrives in the UK on Thursday.
He will avoid the capital for most of his stay, with the president set to meet the Queen at Blenheim Palace on Thursday and Prime Minister Theresa May at Chequers on Friday.
Mr Trump will spend Thursday night at the US ambassador’s residence in Regent’s Park, London.