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PROTESTERS behind a plan to oppose US president Donald Trump’s visit to Portsmouth have insisted their demonstration will be respectful.

Thursday, 30th May 2019, 6:01 pm
Updated Friday, 31st May 2019, 3:07 pm
Protesters against US president Donald Trump unite on the steps of Portsmouth Guildhall in July last year Picture: Malcolm Wells

Crowds are expected in Guildhall Square on June 5 when Mr Trump joins world leaders at Southsea Common to commemorate the sacrifices of D-Day veterans.

But across the city Stand Up Against Racism Portsmouth, which has joined London protesters in organising Together Against Trump, will be ‘putting down a marker’ Mr Trump is not welcome.

Simon Magorian, who convenes the anti-fascist group, said he did not want to ‘drag the vets’ into the plans and anyone protesting near to the national ceremony could expect ‘short shrift’ and would ‘probably be shot’.

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A petition set up by Mr Magorian has hit nearly 50,000 signatories – all saying the invitation to Mr Trump is ‘completely unacceptable’.

Veteran campaigner Mr Magorian said: ‘We will be doing some kind of wreath laying and we will be observing the silence of course.

‘But for the most part – and we can’t boycott the event because you can’t boycott an event that you can’t go into – we’re just doing our thing, we’re quite obviously unhappy.

‘He’s just not like any other president – we would not be having this if it was (Ronald) Reagan or other right-wing people but this is a different issue.’

Portsmouth City Council leader Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson initially said there would be a separate protest area on the day.

Hampshire police and the authority said that is not the case.

Mr Magorian added: ‘I think if anybody had any idea about doing anything down there they will probably be shot. It’s not a good idea.

‘I don’t think anybody is and I think they will get short shrift – it’s the MoD and secret service.’

Organisers of events set to be held at Guildhall Square usually have to apply for permission. The protesters have not done so. But the council said it respects people’s right to protest.

A city council spokeswoman said: ‘While the council respects people's right to protest peacefully, we hope no-one does anything to detract from the focus of the commemorations and the sacrifices made on D-Day.’