Small protests greeted US President Donald Trump on Thursday as he arrived in London for a four-day visit expected to focus on free trade and security cooperation.
Trump and his wife, Melania, were welcomed at London's Stansted airport by Britain's International Trade Secretary Liam Fox and US ambassador Woody Johnson, before heading to the ambassador's residence in central London's Regent's Park.
Several supporters of the Stop Trump group protested outside the residence, which was cordoned off by newly erected high fences and security gates, while Amnesty International hung a huge banner on Vauxhall Bridge in London with an image of Trump and the
message "human rights nightmare."
More protests are expected at Blenheim Palace, near Oxford, where Trump is scheduled to attend an official welcome and a dinner with Prime Minister Theresa May and business leaders.
Thousands of people were expected to join larger protests on Friday, when Trump is due to conduct his main talks with May at Chequers, the British prime minister's retreat outside
The Stop Trump group also drove a van around London with the message "Trump: Go home or face protest," encouraging people to join its demonstration on Friday.
Trump's visit was apparently postponed last year amid strong opposition in Britain.
May said earlier on Thursday that she plans to use the visit to "begin discussions about how we will forge a strengthened, ambitious and future-proof trade partnership."
"There is no stronger alliance than that of our special relationship with the US and there will be no alliance more important in the years ahead," she said, adding that the two nations "share a global outlook across the vast majority of foreign policy issues."
Johnson said a free-trade deal with Britain was "a major priority" for Trump.
Johnson said the two leaders would also discuss military and intelligence cooperation amid growing security threats from nations including China, Russia, North Korea and Iran.
had stirred controversy before leaving for London from Brussels, where he attended a Nato summit, by questioning whether under-pressure May is giving voters "what they voted for" in the 2016 Brexit referendum.
"I've been reading a lot about Brexit over the last couple of days and it seems to be turning a little bit differently, where they're getting, at least partially, involved back with the European Union,"
Trump told reporters when asked about Brexit.
"It's not for me to say [what should happen]," he said, adding that he hoped an agreement could be found quickly.
"The people voted to break it up, so I would imagine that's what they'll do," Trump said. "But maybe they'll take it a little bit of a different route.
"So I don't know if that's what they voted for... I just want the
people to be happy."
Trump had already raised eyebrows on Tuesday after saying he would be visiting a Britain "in turmoil."
Trump will also meet Queen Elizabeth II later on Friday at Windsor Castle, a royal palace outside London, before visiting Scotland on Saturday.
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