Protesters who flew a Donald Trump baby blimp when the US president visited Britain last year have said the cartoonish inflatable will return to the skies for his upcoming state visit – if the public donate £30,000 to help people affected by his policies.
The team behind the snarling, nappy-clad 20ft balloon, which made headlines around the world and incurred the wrath of the US president’s supporters, have revealed they are preparing to fly it again in London next month.
They said this time they wanted not just to "mock" Mr Trump but also to focus attention on and financially support groups that have been “been pushing back against" his "politics of hate and division".
The activists have launched a fundraising appeal for six organisations that support immigrants, Muslim youths, action to fight climate change, victims of domestic violence, and women's reproductive rights.
They said they would only fly the blimp if donations have hit £30,000 by 3 June – the day Mr Trump arrives in the UK.
“Last summer Trump Baby took the country by storm, acting as a lightning rod for widespread opposition to the Trump presidency," said Sheila Menon, one of the protesters. “However, while a powerful symbol, it alone cannot win the fight against Trump’s politics. That’s why we’re asking people to dig deep and help meet this fundraising target and get Trump Baby into our skies once more.
“That’s money that will go straight to groups fighting the impacts of Trump’s politics on the ground.”
Matt Bonner, the designer and “babysitter” of the Trump blimp, said the intention behind the inflatable was originally to “mock Donald Trump, to give him a taste of his medicine”.
But he added: “What we want to do this time is to use the power, the momentum of Trump baby to help support people on the ground who are fighting against Trump policies and Trumpism more generally.”
The money raised will be split between the British organisations Jawaab, Sisters Uncut and the UK Student Climate Network as well as American groups United We Dream, Planned Parenthood and the Sunrise Movement.
Organisers said donations would be passed on to the six groups regardless of whether they hit the target.
London mayor Sadiq Khan gave permission for the Trump balloon to fly near parliament in July last year, when the president's first visit to the UK since his election was met with mass protests.
Mr Khan said the inflatable was a symbol of "peaceful protest" but Nigel Farage, the former Ukip leader, claimed it was "the biggest insult to a sitting US president ever".
A spokeswoman for the mayor's office said a new application to fly the blimp would be assessed by the Greater London Authority, the Metropolitan Police and the Civil Aviation Authority on the same criteria as the first.
If flown again, the balloon looks certain to take to the skies against a backdrop of a huge demonstration against the president's state visit to the UK.
An estimated 250,000 people marched through the streets of London to protest Mr Trump working trip last year.
Next month's visit - during which the president will granted full pomp and ceremony, including dinner with the Queen - is even more controversial.
As many as one million Londoners are ready to protest against the trip, according to a survey, while speaker John Bercow and Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn have each said they will boycott a banquet at Buckingham Palace.