LONDON: Protesters seeking to oust London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Saturday launched a giant balloon over Parliament Square depicting him dressed in a yellow bikini.
Protesters believe Khan has failed to curtail street crime in London, and some wore T-shirts reading “Make London safe again.”
Organisers had created the blimp in a protest against Khan’s policies. It was meant as a rebuke to Khan, who backed protesters’ right to launch a giant balloon depicting US President Donald Trump as an angry baby during his July visit to Britain.
The stunt was staged by Yanny Bruere, who describes himself as a free speech advocate, and funded through nearly 60,000 pounds ($78,000) in donations on a crowdfunding website.
Organiser Yanny Bruere said Saturday’s protest was set up “in retaliation” for activists flying a giant balloon depicting US President Donald Trump as an orange nappy-clad baby during demonstrations on July 13 against his visit to Britain.
“I think a certain amount of respect should be afforded to the leader of the free world and the greatest ally the UK has,” Bruere said. Khan, London’s first Muslim mayor, has been repeatedly criticised by Trump for his handling of security and crime in the British capital.
The bikini is a reference to an advertisement Khan banned from the city’s transport network that showed a young woman in a skimpy yellow bikini asking, “Are you beach body ready?” He said the weight loss ad was demeaning, but opponents argued banning it was an attack on free speech.
The mayor said people were welcome to watch the stunt. “If people want to spend their Saturday looking at me in a yellow bikini they’re welcome to do so — I don’t really think yellow’s my colour though,” he quipped to ITV News.
Published in Dawn, September 2nd, 2018