Islanders plan Mexican protest if Donald Trump visits Hebrides

Donald Trump has been given the go ahead to build a sand dune wall to protect his exclusive Irish golf course. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
Donald Trump has been given the go ahead to build a sand dune wall to protect his exclusive Irish golf course. Picture: John Devlin/TSPL
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Islanders plan to stage a pro-Mexican protest and hire a mariachi band to play in Stornoway if Donald Trump visits his ancestral home on the Isle of Lewis.

The US president is expected to arrive in the UK for a working trip in early 2018 after plans for a full state visit were put on hold.

Although no details have been confirmed, it has long been rumoured Mr Trump would spend time in Scotland as part of any visit due to his family and business connections.

But residents on the Isle of Lewis, where Mr Trump’s mother was born, have warned him not to expect a warm welcome in the Hebrides.

An online crowdfunding campaign to pay for dozens of Mexican flags and to hire a mariachi band is one idea being discussed by locals.

Mr Trump was criticised in 2015 for his comments on Mexican immigrants after the then presidential candidate described them as “rapists” who bring drugs and crime to the US.

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The idea for a Mexican display came from Lewis MacAskill, a 26-year-old from the Isle of Lewis. He told The Scotsman he wanted to show solidarity with groups who have been targeted by the controversial president.

“Displaying Mexican flags would offer something positive instead of just lining up and shouting like other protests,” he said.

“It would be a great way of showing solidarity with those who have been railed against by the president. We would support not just Mexican people, but all groups who he has disparaged.”

The idea has won support from other islanders. Katie Laing, a community blogger from Stornoway, said Mr Trump would not be welcomed in her home town.

“He is a thoroughly awful person,” she told The Scotsman. “He is a great danger to world peace, a racist, and a misogynistic rabble-rouser.

“Most of us, apart from the odd cousin perhaps, are embarrassed by his connection to the Western Isles and do not consider him to be a Hebridean in any way.”

Scottish Government staff have reportedly already discussed ideas on how to accommodate a visit from the world’s most powerful man.

One proposal circulated to ministers is to invite Mr Trump to participate in a memorial service to mark the centenary of the sinking of HMY Iolaire, a naval ship which struck rocks off Stornoway on Hogmanay 1918 with the loss of 201 men, the Daily Record reported.

“Outside Windsor or ­Buckingham Palace, the plan was to get him somewhere where as few people as possible could get behind the fence,” a source told the paper.

The president’s mother, Mary MacLeod, spent her childhood in Tong, near Stornoway, before emigrating to New York in 1930. Mr Trump made a brief visit to the Isle of Lewis in 2008 and still has relatives on the island.

This week, more than 100 Labour parliamentarians backed a call from Leeds MP Alex Sobel for any presidential visit to the UK to be cancelled.

But the American ambassador in London, Woody Johnson, said on Tuesday he still expects Mr Trump to arrive in the new year, despite a recent Twitter row with Theresa May over the terror threat posed by Muslims.

READ MORE: Lewis ‘couldn’t cope’ with Trump visit, says president’s cousin