clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

British protesters want Green Day’s “American Idiot” to top the charts for Trump’s visit

Over 100,000 British people are expected to protest Trump’s upcoming visit Thursday.

Green Day
Punk rock band Green Day performs onstage during Global Citizen Festival 2017 at Central Park in New York City.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images
Madeleine Ngo covers economic policy for Vox. She previously worked at the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, and the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Brits have invented a unique way to troll US President Donald Trump ahead of his upcoming UK visit — and it involves a Green Day song from 2004.

Protesters who oppose Trump and his policies started a campaign to get people in the UK to buy and stream the Green Day song “American Idiot,” so that when Trump lands on Thursday, the song will be at the top of the music charts.

It seems to be working: The single is already No. 1 on Amazon UK’s bestseller list, and as of Tuesday, it’s climbed to No. 18 on the UK’s official charts.

Campaign organizers Keith Curle and Geoff Thomas urged people to listen to the song as many times as possible between July 6 and July 12, the day Trump is slated to arrive in the UK for a four-day visit; it will be his first official visit there since his presidential inauguration in January 2017. Trump plans to meet with Prime Minister Theresa May in Chequers and travel to Windsor Castle to meet Queen Elizabeth II, among other things.

This particular official visit is a long time in coming. Back in January 2017, May visited the White House and invited Trump to Britain for a state visit, but that prompted backlash from British citizens who disagreed with Trump’s policies. UK residents promised to greet the president with waves of protests, and if all indications are correct, they’ll stick to their word.

The British are ramping up their protest plans for Trump’s visit

In addition to making the song “American Idiot” rise in the UK’s charts, British citizens crowdsourced over $23,000 to buy a plump orange balloon that resembles an angry baby Trump wearing a diaper.

Although London Mayor Sadiq Khan originally banned the balloon from flying over the city, after an online petition garnered over 10,000 signatures, he decided to allow it.

While the baby Trump balloon floats over the London skyline, local police are also expecting over 100,000 demonstrators to take to the streets, according to the New York Times.

Trump’s current itinerary largely avoids London, but the Times reports that protesters still plan on disrupting his visit by creating a “wall of sound” outside of Winfield House, the American ambassador’s official residence in London, where Trump will be staying his first night.

Protesters reportedly plan on playing mariachi music and the sounds of crying children asking for their parents.

The British really don’t like Trump for a lot of reasons — including his contentious travel ban that affects several Muslim-majority countries, and for retweeting anti-Muslim videos from a British far-right political group.

“We feel that Donald Trump’s presidency is led by Islamophobic hatred, it’s led by his anti-Palestine policies and that obviously affects Muslim communities not just in America and the Middle East, but around the world,” Shamiul Joarder, head of public affairs at pro-Palestinian group Friends of Al Aqsa told Al Jazeera.

After a bombing in London that left at least 22 people injured last September, Trump used the attack to justify his travel ban in a string of tweets. Rather than an expression of condolence, Trump tweeted, “Loser terrorists must be dealt with in a much tougher manner.” And in a later tweet, he wrote, “The travel ban into the United States should be far larger, tougher and more specific.” His comments angered several British leaders at the time.

For Americans in the UK during Trump’s visit, the US embassy in London has some advice: You should probably stay far away.

In a statement on its website Tuesday, the embassy warned that Americans should “keep a low profile” and be cautious in case protests turn “violent.”

Sign up for the newsletter Today, Explained

Understand the world with a daily explainer plus the most compelling stories of the day.