Dancers perform under an inflatable caricature balloon of Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan as it flies over Parliament Square in London, Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018. Organizer Yanny Bruere raised more than 58,000 pounds ($75,000) through the Crowdfunder website for the 29-foot (8.8-meter) blimp as part of a campaign to oust Khan from his post. Khan angered some people in the British capital and elsewhere last month when he allowed a balloon caricaturing Donald Trump as an angry baby to float above the city while the U.S. president was in England. (AP Photo/Tim Ireland)

Balloon poking fun at Mayor Sadiq Khan flies over London

September 01, 2018 - 5:11 am

LONDON (AP) — Protesters seeking to oust London Mayor Sadiq Khan on Saturday launched a giant balloon over Parliament Square depicting him dressed in a yellow bikini.

A small group of supporters watched the inflatable take to the skies, and the crowd cheered and shouted, "higher, higher, higher" as the balloon was launched.

Some wore T-shirts saying, "Make London safe again." Protesters believe Khan has failed to curtail street crime in London.

Organizers had raised more than 58,000 pounds ($75,000) to create 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 U.S. President Donald Trump as an angry baby during his July visit to Britain.

Organizer Yanny Bruere said Saturday's protest was set up "in retaliation" for the Trump blimp.

"I think a certain amount of respect should be afforded to the leader of the free world and the greatest ally the U.K. has," he said.

Khan, London's first Muslim mayor, has been repeatedly criticized 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.