U.S. President Donald Trump severely downplayed the size of the crowds protesting his state visit to the U.K., calling them “small” despite pictures showing thousands of demonstrators.
The protesters lined the streets in London’s government district as Trump met with U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May Tuesday just blocks away.
Pictures show large crowds and large props, including the return of a blimp that depicts Trump as an infant, outside Parliament Square, nearby the meeting between the two leaders.
New props included a robotic Trump sitting on a toilet, and signs ranging from women’s rights to environmental rights.
The chants, “Say it loud, say it clear, Donald Trump’s not welcome here,” rang out in the square.
But Trump downplayed the demonstrations, calling it “fake news.”
Trump said “there were thousands of people on the streets cheering” as he travelled with the Royal family on Monday.
He also said he didn’t see the protests until Tuesday morning, and that when he did see it, it was “a very small group.”
“I heard that there were protests. I said where are the protests? I don’t see any protests, I did see a small protest today when I came, very small, so a lot of it is fake news,” he said during a press conference with May.
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Leaders of Britain’s main opposition party joined demonstrators at the rally, just up the street from May’s Downing Street office.
Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn declined an invitation to the banquet hosted by Queen Elizabeth at Buckingham Palace on Monday evening.
Trump criticized Corbyn, saying he doesn’t like people who criticize others instead of “doing the right thing.”
He also said Corbyn asked to meet with Trump.
“I don’t know Jeremy Corbyn, never met him, never spoke to him. He wanted to meet today or tomorrow and I decided that I would not do that.”
While thousands of people came out to protest, the turnout is lower than those that turned out during Trump’s visit the year before.
Among Britons, Trump is one of the least-liked foreign leaders, with just 21 per cent of people surveyed by YouGov having a “positive opinion” of him. Among women, that figure fell to 14 per cent.
But there were also small pockets of support. A few men wearing red caps with “Make America Great Again” walked among the crowd.
With files from the Associated Press and Reuters