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FactCheck: Did 'big crowds' gather in support of Trump during his UK state visit?

On Twitter, Donald Trump claimed that big crowds gathered to support him during his state visit to the UK.

DONALD TRUMP HAS claimed that “big crowds” gathered to support him during his UK state visit and that any protests were “organized flops”. 

But is it true? Was US President Donald Trump greeted by big crowds of supporters in London?

The claim

In a press conference with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday afternoon, Trump said he had only seen a small protest when questioned by a journalist about opposition to his visit. 

“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 added further detail to this claim on Twitter on Wednesday morning, tweeting: “I kept hearing that there would be “massive” rallies against me in the UK, but it was quite the opposite. The big crowds, which the Corrupt Media hates to show, were those that gathered in support of the USA and me. They were big & enthusiastic as opposed to the organized flops!”

Trump did not specify the numbers of people who made up the “big crowds” who gathered to support him.

Rather, he said that the crowds of supporters were larger than the numbers of people who arrived to protest him and his visit.

Tweet by @Donald J. Trump Source: Donald J. Trump/Twitter

The evidence 

“Big crowds”, Trump said, gathered in support of his presidency during this three-day state visit to the UK. He claimed that these crowds were larger than any protests.

Estimating crowd size is a difficult (and often contentious) exercise and it is very difficult to determine the exact number of people at any march or demonstration. 

On Monday, Trump supporters and protesters gathered outside Buckingham Palace to greet Trump as he arrived in London. Video clips show a number of Trump supporters and there were media reports of clashes with anti-Trump protesters. The Independent newspaper also noted that in terms of supporters outside Buckingham Palace on Monday, most were tourists.

There is no evidence that indicates that the crowd of supporters outnumbered protesters. 

Press photographers also captured very few people – supporters or protesters – greeting the president on Monday as his motorcade travelled from Buckingham Palace to Westminster Abbey and onto Clarence House during the initial stages of his visit.   

The presidential motorcade drives through central London. Source: Aaron Chown/PA Wire/PA Images

President Trump state visit to UK - Day One The Trump motorcade makes its way from Westminster Abbey to Clarence House. Source: Gareth Fuller/PA Images

Protests on Tuesday

On Tuesday, a protest march took place in central London, as well as in locations across the UK. The march, which met at Trafalgar Square, saw several groups join together to show their opposition to Trump.

News organisations differed in descriptions of the size of the protest march on Tuesday. The BBC said hundreds of people marched, while The Guardian said thousands.

The Independent claimed tens of thousands of people marched on Tuesday, while describing Trump supporters as “isolated”. Organisers claimed that 75,000 people attended the march, but this has not been independently verified

Source: Guardian News/YouTube

UK newspaper The Guardian also produced a six-and-a-half-hour-long live stream of the 4 June protest from beginning to end. It showed protesters marching with placards and posters from Trafalgar Square to Whitehall and onto Parliament Square.

Trump protesters gather in Trafalgar Square on Tuesday. Source: The Guardian News

There were reports that a group of Trump supporters had to be barricaded in a Wetherspoons pub for their safety by London police – which suggests that Trump supporters were outnumbered at the protest march.

The Independent also reported that a “melee” took place between police, protesters and Trump supporters.

President Trump state visit to UK - Day Two Anti-Trump protesters in Trafalgar Square. Source: Matt Crossick/Empics Entertainment/PA Images

There is no video evidence or media reports to suggest that more Trump supporters were gathered than protesters.

All reports from the march suggested that small pockets of Trump supporters were present – one supporter was hit by a milkshake - but that they were in a minority. 

Verdict 

From photos, video clips and media reports, there is no evidence that big crowds gathered to support Donald Trump.

While Trump supporters were present on Monday and Tuesday, they were significantly outnumbered by the size of the anti-Trump protest.

There is no evidence – either from media reports or video recorded on the day – that more people came out to support Trump than gathered to protest him. 

As a result, we rate the claim that big crowds gathered to support Trump: FALSE.

As per our verdict guide, this means: The claim is inaccurate. 

TheJournal.ie’s FactCheck is a signatory to the International Fact-Checking Network’s Code of Principles. You can read it here. For information on how FactCheck works, what the verdicts mean, and how you can take part, check out our Reader’s Guide here. You can read about the team of editors and reporters who work on the factchecks here.

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