A giant balloon depicting Donald Trump as an angry, orange baby will fly near Parliament during the US president’s visit to the UK next week.
London mayor Sadiq Khan today granted permission for the 20ft (6metre) inflatable, dubbed ‘Trump Baby’.
It will fly above Parliament Square Gardens for two hours on the morning of Friday July 13.
The stunt risks raising tensions around the visit as Mr Trump and Mr Khan have clashed repeatedly over terrorism and the Muslim community in London.
Huge protests are expected in London for the first full day of Mr Trump’s visit, which will begin next Thursday night when he flies in from the Nato summit in Brussels.
His three day trip is thought likely to include a dinner with business figures at Blenheim Palace, meeting the Queen at Windsor and talks with Theresa May at her country retreat in Chequers. Mr Trump is also thought to be keen to play golf at his courses in Scotland.
The programme is being designed to ensure Mr Trump avoids London and the expected angry protests. He cancelled a trip last year for fear of demonstrations.
Around 50,000 people are expected to march from the BBC building in Portland Place to Trafalgar Square as part of the ‘Stop Trump’ protest.
The group behind the balloon have raised £17,000 through a crowdfunding website to pay for the huge balloon and take it on a ‘world tour’.
The group stated: ‘If we can troll Donald from the skies wherever he goes for long enough, he’ll start seeing “TrumpBaby” in his dreams.’
The prospect of huge protests is not the only event already overshadowing Mr Trump’s visit to the UK.
Around 150 business chiefs have been invited to attend the black-tie gathering in Oxfordshire, which will be hosted by Mrs May.
But several have turned down the opportunity to come along to the event, the Financial Times revealed this afternoon
They include lastminute.com co-founder Baroness Lane-Fox, who said: ‘I understand why the government have to entertain Trump but I certainly don’t want to.’
Mr Khan and the American leader have engaged in a long-running war of words over issues like crime and terrorism.
The row between the pair began last June when the US President accused Mr Khan of having a ‘pathetic’ response to the London Bridge terror attack.
He tweeted: ‘At least 7 dead and 48 wounded in terror attack,’ the president wrote on his personal Twitter account, ‘and Mayor of London says there is ‘no reason to be alarmed!’
But critics pointed out that the London Mayor was saying residents should not be alarmed at the increased police presence – not at the terrorists.
Speaking about Mr Trump’s visit earlier this year, Mr Khan said: ‘I think there will be protests, I speak to Londoners every day of the week and I think they will use the rights they have to express their freedom of speech.
‘But they must be peaceful, they must be lawful.’
He added: ‘As the Mayor of London it’s probably inappropriate for me to join a protest when foreign leaders come into the UK.
‘It’s important though for me not to be scared to express my views about some of the things he’s said.
‘It’s ironic that the architect of the hostile environment policy in this country has invited the architect of the hostile environment policy in the USA to London.’
More than 10,000 people signed a petition calling for the ‘baby Trump’ inflatable to be given permission to fly, activists said.
Speaking about the balloon decision today, activist Leo Murray said: ‘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.’
A spokesman for the Nona Hurkmans group, which is behind the protest, said: ‘We are just a small group of friends who set out to use humour to take a stand against the rise of racist and fascist politics both here in the UK and over in the US.
‘We have been genuinely overwhelmed and touched by the incredible levels of support we have received for our project.’