Scuffles broke out between pro- and anti-Trump protesters on Tuesday as thousands marched through London to voice their opposition to the US president’s state visit.
Demonstrators marched from Trafalgar Square to Parliament Square chanting “Donald Trump, Theresa May, immigrants are here to stay” and holding placards warning about the threat to the NHS from a post-Brexit US trade deal.
One protestor was selling toilet paper with Mr Trump’s face printed on it, while another brought a 16ft talking robot of the president sitting on a gold toilet.
Jeremy Corbyn spoke to crowds from a stage in Whitehall before the procession moved on to Parliament Square, where a giant Trump baby blimp was hoisted into the air.
The demonstration was largely peaceful although small groups of Trump supporters, many wearing the signature “Make America Great Again” caps, remonstrated with anti-fascist groups who were also on the march.
Police carried out three arrests and at one point were forced to lock Trump supporters inside a pub on Whitehall for their own safety.
Right-wing activists were held behind a line of police at the entrance to the Wetherspoon bar as a much larger crowd chanted: “Nazi scum off our streets.”
Later a milkshake was thrown at a Trump supporter before a scuffle broke out.
The man, who said he was from London but did not want to be named, said he was “angry” to have been targeted.
Mr Trump claimed reports of protests in London were “fake news”.
He said: “There were thousands of people cheering. I don’t see any protests. I did see a small protest today, very small. So, a lot of it is fake news, I hate to say.”
Police and organisers put the number on the streets in the tens of thousands – lower than the 250,000 which had been predicted but large enough to bring parts of central London to a standstill.
Mary McMillan, 85, and from London, said inviting Mr Trump to the UK was the “height of hypocrisy”.
She told The Independent: “We shouldn’t be saying he’s a wonderful man when he is scum.”
Don Lessem, who spent a month building the Trump toilet robot, described his creation as “stable, like a genius”, in reference to past comments made by the president.
“I came to the UK because you guys protest – I want Americans to do that,” he said. “Trump isn’t welcome anywhere. He doesn’t respect democracy, he’s a would-be dictator.”
And Beverley Schamm, 62, a retired teacher from Hemel Hempstead, agreed.
“I felt I had to be here to show solidarity and protest against Trump’s politics. It sends all the wrong messages to the people who have been forgotten about. He is a sinister man.”
Gary Jagniaszek, 41, a builder from Essex and his 65-year-old father, Bronsilaw, said they had taken the day off from their kitchen fitting business to attend the march.
“I’m here to tell him to go home. We don’t want him here. He is a racist b******,” the younger Mr Jagniasek said.
“He has interfered in our politics and it has nothing to do with him,” said his father. “He wants us out of the EU and then he will savage us.”
James O’Brien from Ireland, who was selling toilet paper with Mr Trump’s face on it, said he had ordered around 10,000 rolls. “There are a lot of people who want to wipe poo on Donald Trump.”
But 22-year-old John, an ex-soldier who didn’t want to give his surname, said he was at the rally in support of Mr Trump to defend free speech. “As a president he has a right to be here,” he said. “It is a matter of free speech. These protesters are undemocratic.”
Karen Byrd, a tourist from North Carolina who was passing through Trafalgar Square, said the protest was “upsetting”.
“We are proud of him. He has made mistakes and he needs to keep quiet on Twitter, but he has boosted our economy, he is against abortion.”
Asked about his description of Meghan Markle as “nasty” and Sadiq Khan as a “stone cold loser”, she replied: “He needs to keep his mouth shut. But it is what he does for our country that matters.”
Crowds began to disperse from Parliament Square as the rain fell, with pockets of protesters remaining on the green, but by late afternoon the topic of discussion had largely turned to Brexit instead of the US president.
More than 3,000 officers were deployed and Scotland Yard’s deputy commissioner, Sir Steve House, said the policing plan has so far worked “effectively”.
He said the force is not in a position to estimate how much the operation will cost but added the US president’s last visit to the capital cost the Met about £2.9m.