A MASSIVE demonstration in the Capital against Donald Trump’s visit to the UK was hailed as a success as the American president flew out of Scotland on Air Force One.
An estimated 50,000 people turned out for a march through the city centre on Saturday, followed by a Carnival of Resistance at the Meadows, where the famous Trump Baby blimp was flying.
Edinburgh East SNP MSP Tommy Sheppard, one of the speakers who addressed the marchers before they set off from outside the Scottish Parliament, said there had been support from people of all ages, creeds and colours, including many people who had never been on a demonstration before.
He said the only support for Mr Trump in Scotland was from the “eccentric right”.
“Across the whole breadth of the political spectrum, there is unanimous revulsion at this man’s odious ideas.”
And he claimed the protest will have hit home. “We can underestimate the importance of these things and how they are seen in America.
“In large part this was a demonstration of solidarity with people in America, who did not vote for him in a majority. The protests in the UK will have been shown coast to coast in America and people there will know their leader is not well received in these parts.”
Kate Whitaker from Friends of the Earth said it had been one of the biggest demonstrations in Scotland for years.
“It was a really great day and an amazing turnout. It brought together so many different issues and groups of people who are impacted by the kind of politics Trump and the far right advocate, which is about dividing people and hatred and fear.
“The point was not just to make Trump feel unwelcome. The broader purpose was to show solidarity with people in America and across the world who are facing the impact of racism, homophobia, climate change and misogyny and to say that in the UK we won’t stand for these kind of politics.”
President Trump spent the weekend at his golf resort at Turnberry in Ayrshire, following his meetings with Theresa May and the Queen over the previous two days, being helicoptered between Blenheim Palace, the America embassy, Windsor Castle and Chequers.
He managed two rounds of golf before taking off from Prestwick Airport yesterday afternoon, heading for today’s meeting with Russian president Vladimir Putin in Helsinki.
Police yesterday confirmed a 55-year-old man had been arrested and charged in connection with a security breach at Turnberry when a powered parachute was flown close to the president’s hotel trailing the message “Trump well below par”. The man is due to appear at Ayr Sheriff Court today.
Police also said a 64-year-old man was arrested in relation to alleged threatening and abusive behaviour on the beach at Turnberry yesterday and was issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice.
But these were the only two arrests during the visit. Assistant Chief Constable Mark Williams thanked protesters for their good behaviour.
He said: “This was a major and complex policing operation involving thousands of officers that impacted right across Scotland. Our priority throughout was to protect the president, maintain public safety and facilitate thousands of people across Scotland to exercise their right to protest peacefully.”
Meanwhile the group behind the Trump Baby blimp – which was refused permission to fly it over Turnberry golf course – said everyone at the Carnival of Resistance had loved the 20ft inflatable image of the president as an infant in a nappy clutching a mobile phone.
Leo Murray from the Trump Babysitters said after the plan to fly it at Turnberry fell through they had hoped to have it at Holyrood, but their request was refused by the Scottish Parliament.
“I think most people in Edinburgh did want him to fly and I think that was an undemocratic decision. They said it wasn’t considered to be an appropriate use of parliamentary facilities or land.”
The blimp was flown above London on Friday during the protests there, then deflated and brought north by train to fly at the Meadows.
“It was wonderful,” said Mr Murray. “People were absolutely over the moon. We had a lot of Americans who live in Edinburgh coming up and really expressing profound gratitude. There was a real sense this is what the public wanted. We didn’t meet a single person who was angry or cross.”
And he revealed the blimp will now go “on tour”.
He said: “We have been inundated with requests from people. In the first instance the goal is to troll the president on his so-called diplomatic missions around the world.
“So it will fly over where the president is meeting people, as a reminder of how the world sees his grotesque presidency.”
It proved impossible to get the blimp to Helsinki in time for today’s meeting between Mr Trump and President Putin.
But Mr Murray said Trump Baby was due to make an appearance as early as next week.
And when its work is done it could be preserved for posterity.
Mr Murray said: “The museum of London has offered to display it in perpetuity for the nation!”