Trump baby blimp attacked after balloon slashed with knife at protest against US President

The attacker slashed the giant inflatable which had been set up at a protest event in a park in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, while the Mr Trump attended a University of Alabama football game nearby.

Jim Girvan, the organiser of a group that loans out Baby Trump balloons for protests, said a man charged the balloon with a knife and cut a 8ft gash in its back.

Mr Girvan said the attacker was arrested by Tuscaloosa police officers who have since identified him as 32-year-old Hoyt Deau Hutchinson.

Robert Kennedy, a volunteer who transported the balloon to Tuscaloosa, said the balloon began to sag as soon as it was cut.

He said some people shouted “Trump 2020” as they passed the protest while others posed for selfies with the 20ft balloon.

But then a man sneaked behind the balloon and attacked it with a knife. He ran away but was caught by police officers.

Mr Kennedy said he has accompanied Baby Trump to many appearances and never witnessed an attack on the balloon, although someone did stab a Baby Trump balloon in London earlier this year.

He said: “It is rare to get that kind of anger.”

Tuscaloosa police said in a statement that officers witnessed the incident which led them to arrest Hutchinson and charge him with felony first degree criminal mischief.

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The slashing appears to have been premeditated as Hutchinson posted a Facebook Live video just hours before the incident saying he was “going down there to make a scene”.

He told followers: “I’m shaking I’m so mad right now. I’m fixin’ to pop this balloon, without a doubt.”

After Hutchinson was released on bail, he posted another since-removed Facebook video, with the third quarter of the football game playing on a television behind him as people laughed and cheered.

The bright orange, nappy-wearing balloon caricature of the US President is often taken to Trump appearances as a way to protest against him.

It first flew over London in 2018 when activists staged protests against Mr Trump’s controversial visit to the UK.

Several groups now raise money to send replicas around the US.

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