More than 2,600 people have signed a petition launched late on Wednesday night calling for official clearance to allow the Trump Baby protest balloon to be flown over the Turnberry course when the US president is expected to play golf this Saturday.
The petition calls on the acting head of Police Scotland, Det Ch Con Iain Livingstone, to authorise the flying of the six-metre high balloon near the luxury golfing resort on the west coast of Scotland, which is owned by Donald Trump and where he is anticipated to spend the private leg of his UK trip this weekend.
The protesters say that they have also contacted the first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, asking her to personally sanction the flying of the balloon, which depicts the US president as an angry baby wearing a nappy.
The balloon is due to fly above Parliament Square in central London on Friday, after campaigners crowdfunded £16,000 to pay for it and the London mayor, Sadiq Khan, gave permission for it to fly.
Then the protest team, including a number of trained balloon operators, will board the sleeper train to Glasgow with Trump Baby, and travel to Turnberry. They have already ordered sufficient helium to pick up en route to power the weekend’s activities.
Leo Murray, an environmental campaigner who is leading the stunt, told the Guardian: “People in Scotland are past masters when it comes to protesting against Trump. So naturally they have insisted we bring Trump Baby up from London to fly over his golf course, in solidarity with their struggle against Trump’s hateful politics. We have been delighted to accept their invitation.
“There’s an aerial exclusion zone around the golf course, so we need to get permission from the police to get the giant Trump baby up in the air. But if it’s all been OK’d in Parliament Square, there’s no reason it wouldn’t be OK next to a golf course, especially when there are so many people in Scotland who see this as a very fitting protest against everything that Trump stands for.”
Murray added that he hoped that the Turnberry visit would be the first stage in a world tour for the Trump baby balloon, shadowing the president on his “so-called diplomatic missions”.
Trump will be greeted when he arrives in Scotland later on Friday by the UK government’s Scottish secretary, David Mundell. The Guardian understands that no members of the Scottish government will be present and that Trump will not meet Sturgeon, who has been a vocal critic of his policies.
Mundell said on Wednesday evening that he was looking forward to meeting Trump.
“The UK and the US have longstanding and important cultural, trade and security bonds. The president’s visit is an opportunity to strengthen vital links with one of our most important global allies. The president’s Scots heritage is well known, and I hope he enjoys his visit to Scotland.”
Trump’s mother was born on the Hebridean island of Lewis, before she travelled to New York at the age of 18, seeking work as a domestic servant.
But the leaders of Scottish Labour and the Scottish Greens, Richard Leonard and Patrick Harvie, issued a joint statement urging the Scottish government to prevent the US president landing at Prestwick airport.
It said: “Donald Trump is not welcome here. The horrific scenes at the Mexican border are a repudiation of decent human values. Caging children like animals is barbaric. We cannot roll out the red carpet for a US president that treats human beings this way.”
“From his disgraceful equating of anti-fascist campaigners with Nazis in Charlottesville, his withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement, to his Islamophobic travel ban and his misogyny Donald Trump has demonstrated that he should be denied any kind of welcome.”
“The Scottish government owns Prestwick airport. We believe that this publicly-owned facility should not be used for Donald Trump’s visit. We urge that the Scottish government rules out any use of Prestwick by the president or his entourage, and so send the most powerful message possible that Donald Trump is not welcome in Scotland.”