This headline from the International Business Times is so incredible, even by Trump standards:
“Donald Trump tells Theresa May he won’t visit the UK unless she bans protest.”
Here’s the details of the phone exchange:
Trump went on to say that he would not visit the UK unless there were guarantees that he would not be met with protests. Advisers who had been listening to the phone call are reported to have been “astonished” at the demands.
Yeah, well, get used to it Britain. You’ll stop being astonished eventually.
BUT, even considering that this is Donald Trump we’re talking about…well, that is something else, Mr. President. The UK’s 1998 Human Rights Act says this in Article 11:
1. Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and to freedom of association with others, including the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.
2. No restrictions shall be placed on the exercise of these rights other than such as are prescribed by law and are necessary in a democratic society in the interests of national security or public safety, for the prevention of disorder or crime, for the protection of health or morals or for the protection of the rights and freedoms of others. This Article shall not prevent the imposition of lawful restrictions on the exercise of these rights by members of the armed forces, of the police or of the administration of the State.
Just like us, they allow people to protest. And though there are a few conditions in which protests can be curtailed, a visiting head of state with thin skin is not one of them. I mean, they even had to allow a bunch of fascists to protest in 2010, so seriously do they take their freedom of assembly and the right to peaceful protest. They are not going to undermine their own democratic values just so you can pretend everyone loves you.
Let’s summarize: Is it okay to ask a country to suspend a human rights act because you’re visiting? No. No it is not.