Thousands of people braved London's winter drizzle on Sunday for a screening of the Oscar-nominated movie that has become a rallying point for opponents of U.S. President Donald Trump's immigration policy. Edward Baran reports.
Hours ahead of what look set to be the most politicized Academy Awards in years, thousands gathered in London for a premiere that was part screening part protest. The Oscar nominated movie The Salesman, whose Iranian director is boycotting the ceremony, has become a rallying point for opponents of US President Donald Trump's immigration policy London mayor Sadiq Khan made clear his political motivation in hosting its UK premiere. SOUNDBITE (English) MAYOR OF LONDON, SADIQ KHAN, SAYING: "President Trump can't silence me...(cheers)...We are the greatest city in the world and you know, I want the world to hear, we stand in solidarity with Asghar Farhadi." Reporter question: "Do you think this will send a message to President Trump?" 'I am not sure about sending a message to President Trump. What I am keen to do is bring communities together. What I am keen to do is show the world that London is open Farhadi is the bookmakers' favorite to win another Best Foreign Language Film statuette later on Sunday but is staying away in protest at Trump's attempt to ban people from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the United States. In a video message from Tehran, he said he was heartened by the reaction of filmmakers and artists to what he called "the oppressive travel ban' Director Mike Leigh hailed him as "the master" for directors "who make films about real people" (SOUNDBITE) (English) DIRECTOR MIKE LEIGH SAYING: "Our protest is of course against Donald Trump's cynical, divisive and destructive policies, especially his unforgivable travel ban." (Cheers) Khan's decision to host the movie event once again put him at odds with the British government which has been quick to forge close relations with Trump, particularly as Britain prepares to leave the European Union. .