Ahead of President Donald Trump’s high-profile visit to the U.K., the American government’s representatives in the country are warning U.S. citizens to lay low during what is planned to be three days of large-scale protests.
Several demonstrations are scheduled across the U.K. from July 12 to 14 to voice widespread opposition to Trump and his policies. They’re expected to be attended by thousands and will mandate a large police presence and several road closures. Though mostly concentrated in central London, some protests will take place in the Scottish cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow, among others.
The U.S. embassy in London listed on its website a number of actions to take this week, including keeping “a low profile.” Here are all the safety suggestions:
• Be aware of your surroundings.
• Exercise caution if unexpectedly in the vicinity of large gatherings that may become violent.
• Keep a low profile.
• Monitor local media for updates.
• View updates from U.K. police at met.police.uk and follow @MetPoliceEvents and @MetPoliceUK for guidance.
More than 50,000 Americans live in London, and have so far faced no notable violence stemming from animosity toward the U.S. president.
Some 4,000 police officers are reportedly being deployed for Trump’s visit, as London authorities prepare to mobilize a force not seen since the 2011 London riots, which saw five people killed. Security forces from other regions of the country have restricted leave so that their officers can make up the numbers, the Guardian reported on Monday.
The U.K. Police Federation has described Trump’s visit as putting “unquestionable pressure” on the country’s police forces.
This is not the first diplomatic move by Trump that has triggered security alerts for Americans abroad. U.S. citizens received warnings to lay low in a number of countries, particularly across the Muslim world, after the president named Jerusalem as the capital of Israel in a controversial move last December, triggering widespread anger and breaking from decades of U.S. foreign policy.
U.S. embassies and the State Department regularly issue safety warnings and alerts to Americans abroad — whether in the event of security or political situations considered potentially risky, chronic threats, or natural disasters — as part of its mandate to ensure the security of U.S. citizens. In the fall of 2017, the State Department issued a travel warning to all U.S. citizens over the “heightened risk of terrorist attacks” in Europe as a whole.