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Trump says Brexit vote has 'real parallel' with his campaign

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  • Donald Trump
    Donald Trump
    45th President of the United States
  • David Cameron
    David Cameron
    Former prime minister of the United Kingdom (born 1966)

Turnberry (United Kingdom) (AFP) - Donald Trump hailed Britain's vote to leave the EU as "fantastic" on a trip to Scotland on Friday, saying the campaign had parallels with his own mission to become the president of the United States.

"I think it's a great thing. I think it's a fantastic thing," he told reporters after stepping off a helicopter with the word "Trump" emblazoned on its side at the golf resort he owns in southwest Scotland.

A break-up of the European Union "looks like it's on its way," he added later. "I think you're going to have this happen more and more."

Two bagpipers in kilts played as Trump landed and staff at the newly-renovated resort cheered as he arrived on his first international trip since becoming the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Trump held a press conference on the ninth hole of his golf course, overlooking the sea.

There was a "real parallel" between the anti-EU vote and his own campaign, he told journalists, surrounded by golf balls emblazoned with Nazi swastikas which a protester had tossed onto the grass before being ushered away.

"People want to take their country back, they want independence," Trump said, explaining that unhappiness with immigrants "flowing" across borders was the common cause for discontent in Britain and the US.

"There were great similarities with what happened here and my campaign," he said.

- 'Not welcome here' -

At the resort, a large Scottish flag flew in front of the picturesque seafront, as protesters gathered nearby.

Two groups, Scotland Against Trump and Stand Up To Racism Scotland, bused protesters to the golf resort to picket the property mogul.

"Scotland is a progressive, tolerant and multicultural country and we oppose the bigotry that Donald Trump represents," Keir McKechnie of the anti-racism group told AFP.

"We want to tell the world that he's not welcome here."

The New York tycoon has caused alarm in Europe with his abrasive style and pledges to deport millions of undocumented immigrants and build a wall on the border with Mexico.

His proposal to ban Muslims from entering the United States drew the ire of Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, who called the idea "stupid, divisive and wrong".

Trump dismissed a question on whether his unpopularity with other world leaders would be a problem if he is elected US president in November.

He noted that Cameron had been defeated in the Brexit vote, and had decided to step down as prime minister.

"Where's David Cameron?" Trump asked with a chuckle.

"Right now I don't think David Cameron wants to meet anybody."

His Democratic rival in the US presidential election in November, Hillary Clinton, seized the moment to post a video compilation of criticism from Cameron and others.

"People in Scotland are not thrilled about Trump coming to their country," Clinton posted on Twitter. "We know the feeling."

- Raising the Mexican flag -

Another protester, Jonathon Shafi of Scotland Against Trump, said he wanted the gathering to show unity with demonstrators in the US who have disrupted Trump rallies.

"We want to send a message of solidarity to movements like Black Lives Matter that we are united in opposition," Shafi told AFP.

On Saturday, Trump is expected to travel to the Trump International Golf Links, another course he owns in the northeast Scottish coastal village of Balmedie, a resort that has been controversial with locals.

Some irate neighbours living next to the course have raised Mexican flags in symbolic opposition to Trump.

The trip stands in stark contrast to the welcome President Barack Obama received on a visit to Germany in 2008, when he was the presumptive Democratic nominee.

At the time, Obama addressed a crowd of tens of thousands about his hopes of closer links to a unified Europe.

Trump has criticised the continent's leaders as "weak" and accused them of taking inadequate measures to combat terrorism following the jihadist attacks on Brussels in March.

Trump's trip to Scotland will be brief as he is scheduled to return to the US later Saturday.

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