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Protesters demand Donald Trump's UK visit is cancelled as MPs debate issue

By Chloe Farand

Tens of thousands of people are expected to take to the streets today to demand US President Donald Trump's State visit to the UK be halted.

Protests are organised in cities around the country from Plymouth to Inverness, including in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol and Cardiff as part of a nationwide day of action.

This comes as Parliament is due to debate the US President's State visit today after nearly two million people signed a petition calling on the Government to cancel the planned visit.

The Government officially rejected the petition and in a statement said it did not agree with the request, and would extend "the full courtesy of a State visit" to the US President.

Downing Street also refused to rule out moving the State visit to Birmingham in the hope of avoiding protests.

But the Government is compelled to respond to all petitions that receive more than 10,000 signatures, and if a petition reaches 100,000 it will be considered for debate in Parliament.

A coalition of campaign groups called the day of action as pressure mounts on Theresa May over the visit, which could take place this summer.

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan also called for the visit to be scrapped in opposition to Trump's "cruel and shameful" travel ban.

The Stop Trump Coalition and Stand Up To Racism are co-ordinating the events, which will also call on defending migrants' rights in reaction to Mr Trump's immigration policies and his "Muslim travel ban".

In London's Parliament Square a number of high profile speakers will address the crowd, including UK activists Salma Yaqoob, Green MP Caroline Lucas, Talha Ahmad from the Muslim Council of Britain and Guardian columnist Owen Jones.

Other organisations such as the Everyday Bigotry Project, Sisters Uncut, Black Lives Matter UK and Friends of the Earth are backing the march.

Singer Paloma Faith is also supporting the marches and said: "I'm backing the protests because I believe in human rights and compassion, and Trump evidently does not."

Meanwhile, the former Prime Minister of Sweden has asked "what has Donald Trump been smoking?" after the US President alluded to a mystery recent attack in the country.

Swedes reacted with general confusion after Mr Trump said: "We've got to keep our country safe. You look at what's happening in Germany, you look at what's happening last night in Sweden.

"Sweden, who would believe this. Sweden. They took in large numbers. They're having problems like they never thought possible.

"You look at what's happening in Brussels. You look at what's happening all over the world. Take a look at Nice. Take a look at Paris."

Former Prime Minister Carl Bildt took to Twitter to express his confusion, saying: "Sweden? Terror attack?

"What has he been smoking? Questions abound."

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