Anti-Brexit protesters march in London to demand another vote

Europe | Mar 23, 2019 Anti-Brexit protesters march in London to demand another vote RFI REUTERS/Kevin Coombs

Hundreds of thousands of demonstrators opposed to the UK's withdrawal from the EU marched through central London on Saturday to demand a re-vote as the deepening Brexit crisis intensified the pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May to resign.

Pro-European protestors joined in the "Put it to the people march" with banners proclaiming: "The best deal is no Brexit" and: "We demand a People's Vote".

While there was no official estimate of the numbers, organisers said up to a million people took part, which would make it the biggest anti-Brexit protest yet.

An online official petition to cancel Brexit gained more than four million signatures in three days this week.

Organisers arranged hundreds of coaches and even chartered a train to bring protesters from all corners of the country to the capital.

Geologist Edmund Sides spent three weeks walking from Wales to take part. “People fear the atmosphere is very dangerous in this country," said the 63-year-old.

You never know what you've got 'til it's gone

Many waved the blue and yellow EU flag or painted their faces blue.

"The Remainers are now some of the most Europhile people in Europe," Kevin O'Rourke, author of A Short History of Brexit, told RFI.

“It's only when you lose your European citizenship you realise how important it is.

“The European flag really has become a question of identity and one can only hope that if Brexit does happen, then in 20 years or so a different kind of United Kingdom will become a member [once more].”

O'Rourke remained skeptical, however, over what Saturday's march could achieve.

“The mobilisation will put some wind in the sails of pro-European parliamentarians in the Commons next week," he added. "But apart from the Liberal Democrats – and there aren't many of them – no party is representing these people.”

Pressure on May to step down?
May hinted on Friday that she might not bring her twice-defeated EU divorce deal back to parliament next week, leaving her Brexit strategy in meltdown.

The Times and The Daily Telegraph newspapers reported that May was under growing pressure to resign.

However a Downing Street source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters that the report was not correct.

While the country and its politicians are divided over Brexit, most agree it is the most important strategic decision the United Kingdom has faced since World War Two.

In the referendum on 23 June, 2016, 17.4 million voters, or 52 per cent, backed Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48 per cent, wanted to stay in the bloc.

But ever since, Remainers have been exploring ways to hold another referendum.

May has repeatedly ruled out that option saying it would deepen divisions and undermine support for democracy.

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