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Donald Trump due to face protesters at opening of revamped golf course

Published 24/06/2016

Donald Trump is visiting his golf resort in Ayrshire
Donald Trump is visiting his golf resort in Ayrshire

Donald Trump is expected to be met by crowds of protesters on a visit to Scotland to attend the official opening of his revamped Turnberry golf course.

The US presidential hopeful will travel to South Ayrshire to cut the ribbon at the resort he purchased two years ago which has undergone a £200 million refurbishment.

It marks Mr Trump's first foreign trip since becoming the presumptive Republican candidate. However, no meetings with UK leaders are on the agenda.

The focus of the trip is business but anti-racism campaigners are planning to voice their opposition to Trump, who has courted controversy with suggestions that a wall be built on the US border with Mexico and a temporary ban be introduced on Muslims entering America.

The Stand Up To Trump protest is being staged at Turnberry after almost 587,000 people signed a petition calling for the controversial billionaire himself to be banned from entering the UK.

Campaigners say he is not welcome, claiming he has ''ramped up levels of racism, Islamophobia, and bigotry'' during his presidential bid.

The protest is supported by organisations including Stand Up to Racism - Scotland, the Glasgow Campaign to Welcome Refugees and Unite the Union Scotland.

Keir McKechnie, spokesman for Stand Up to Racism Scotland, said: ''His message of hate is one that we'll challenge and we would not encourage anyone to support him in his presidency.

''Although this protest happens to be taking place in Scotland, we want to represent people across the whole of the UK and beyond who reject Trump's racism and Islamophobia.''

Jonathan Shafi, co-ordinator of Scotland Against Trump, has organised coaches to take protesters to Turnberry.

He said: ''We'll be organising a protest which will reflect the broad opinion of Scots that his values are incompatible with ours.

''The demonstration I think will reflect that very well.''

Mr Shafi said Mr Trump's brand is damaging to the Scottish economy but B&B owner Christina Auld believes the property tycoon is ''good for the area''.

Ms Auld, who runs Links Lodge in Turnberry, said: ''I think the whole village is looking forward to him coming here. He's made amazing changes to the hotel.

"I'm not a golfer but a lot of my friends are members and they say the golf course is just fantastic - it plays well and they are all loving it.

''I think he's good for the area. He's bringing in a lot of revenue. The shops will be better. The restaurants round about. The historic sights will benefit from him. I just think he's going to make a great difference to the area.''

Senior politicians in Scotland have distanced themselves from Mr Trump and will not attend the opening, while the UK Government said Prime Minister David Cameron "has no plans" to meet the presidential contender during his two-day stay in Scotland.

Police Scotland said discussions had taken place with campaign groups and any protests "will be policed appropriately".

Chief Superintendent Gillian MacDonald said: "As with the visit of any high-profile individual, planning is under way and the event will be policed in an appropriate fashion.

''We do not reveal operational detail around security issues."

Mr Trump tweeted ahead of his visit: "Leaving now for a one night trip to Scotland in order to be at the Grand Opening of my great Turnberry Resort. Will be back on Sat night.

"Congratulations to my son, Eric, on the fantastic job he has done in rebuilding Turnberry, and its great Ailsa Course. Always support kids."

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