'No Trump zone': Thousands of Paris protesters create area free of the US President ahead of Bastille Day visit

Visit comes a century since the US' entry into the First World War

Lizzie Dearden
Thursday 13 July 2017 21:33
Anti-Trump protesters in France oppose the Macron-Trump alliance

Thousands of protesters are preparing to take to the streets of Paris to create a “no Trump zone” for the US President.

Donald Trump and the First Lady are visiting France to mark Bastille Day after Emmanuel Macron extended an invitation that surprised many after a series of ideological clashes between the two leaders.

The President, who praised far-right leader Marine Le Pen during the French election, said the trip would “celebrate and honour” France's national day and a century since the US' entry into the First World War.

While Mr Trump will be officially welcomed with a luxurious dinner at the Eiffel Tower ahead of a series of state events on Friday, demonstrators will be sending a very different signal nearby in the French capital.

The Paris Against Trump alliance is planning a rally at the symbolic Place des États-Unis, which is the former home of the US embassy and filled with memorials commemorating ties between the two nations.

It will be followed by a night of music, dance and performances at a designated “no Trump zone” in the Place de la Republique.

Among the diverse groups demonstrating are those opposed to Mr Trump's climate change policies, travel ban and anti-war groups.

Many are also directing their anger at Mr Macron for extending the invitation and over reforms to labour laws.

Paris Against Trump organisers say they oppose “his positions on the climate crisis, his international politics against migrants, his sexist speeches and behaviour, his Islamophobia and racist remarks, his military plans around the world and his neo-liberalism and capitalism.”

A particular point of contention is Mr Trump's decision to withdraw from the historic Paris agreement, which saw the Elysee Palace “troll” the White House by altering a video seeking to justify the move.

Mr Macron has been outspoken with his support for the accords and his previous meetings with the US President have appeared tense, including a white-knuckled handshake in Brussels.

The leaders' talks will focus on shared diplomatic and military endeavours, particular counter-terrorism, but an Elysee official said Mr Macron would not shy away from difficult issues like Mr Trump's combative “America First” trade policy.

“The meeting won't avoid subjects on which we have different positions, such as climate and, to a certain extent, trade,” the aide said.

“I have no doubt that the presidents will talk about the state of military actions in Syria and they will talk about the future.”

Mr Trump arrived in Paris early on Thursday morning accompanied by his wife Melania, economic adviser Gary Cohn, White House chief of staff Reince Priebus and national security adviser HR McMaster.

The President travelled to the American Ambassador’s residence for lunch with US military personnel, before a scheduled tour of the Les Invalides monuments.

He will then go to the Elysee Palace for a bilateral meeting with Mr Macron, followed by a press conference.

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The leaders and their wives will have dinner, expected to include blue lobster and caviar, up the Eiffel Tower's famed Le Jules Verne restaurant.

Mr Trump is to be the guest of honour at Friday's military parade on the Champs-Elysees - the first time a US President had attended since George Bush in 1989.

More protests are planned for the day, including socialist and anti-racist activists marching from the Place de Clichy.

Security will be intense for the duration of Mr Trump's stay, which comes after a string of Isis-linked terror attacks in France including a recent attempt near Notre-Dame cathedral.

Crowds marking Bastille Day - a national holiday - were targeted by an Isis supporter who killed 86 people in Nice last year.

Mr Macron will be travelling to the southern city for commemorations following the end of engagements with Mr Trump.

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