Sunday March 24, 2019
The march, organized by the People's Vote campaign is calling for a final vote on any proposed Brexit deal. Tim Ireland/The Associated Press
Hundreds of thousands of people opposed
to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union marched through central
London on Saturday to demand a new referendum as the deepening Brexit
crisis risked sinking Prime Minister Theresa May’s premiership.
set off in central London with banners proclaiming “the best deal is no
Brexit” and “we demand a People’s Vote” in what organisers said could
be the biggest anti-Brexit protest yet. After
three years of tortuous debate, it is still uncertain how, when or even
if Brexit will happen as May tries to plot a way out of the gravest
political crisis in at least a generation.
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 reported that pressure was growing on May to resign.
would feel differently if this was a well managed process and the
government was taking sensible decisions. But it is complete chaos,”
Gareth Rae, 59, who travelled from Bristol to attend the demonstration,
“The country will be divided whatever happens and it is worse to be divided on a lie.”
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.
protesters gathered for a “Put it to the people march” at Marble Arch on
the edge of Hyde Park around midday, before marching past the prime
minister’s office in Downing Street and finish outside parliament.
there was no official estimate of the numbers, campaign organisers said
hundreds of thousands of people were in the crowd as it began to march.
were confident that the size of the crowd would exceed a similar rally
held in October, when supporters said about 700,000 people turned up.
“NEVER GONNA GIVE EU UP”
Poole, 18, who was holding a placard saying “never gonna give EU up” in
reference to a song by 1980s popstar Rick Astley, wasn’t old enough to
vote in the 2016 referendum.
have come here today because we feel like our future has been stolen
from us. It is our generation that is going to have to live with the
consequences of this disaster,” she told Reuters.
is going to make it harder to get a job. You are already seeing a lot
of large companies leaving. I am worried about the future.”
hundred coaches from around Britain were booked to take people to
London for the march. One coach left the Scottish Highlands on Friday
evening, and another left from Cornwall on England’s western tip early
on Saturday morning.
A petition to
cancel Brexit altogether gained 4 million signatures in just 3 days
after May told the public “I am on your side” over Brexit and urged
lawmakers to get behind her deal.
the June 23, 2016 referendum, 17.4 million voters, or 52 percent,
backed Brexit while 16.1 million, or 48 percent, backed staying in the
But ever since, opponents of Brexit have been exploring ways to hold another referendum.
has repeatedly ruled out holding another Brexit referendum, saying it
would deepen divisions and undermine support for democracy. Brexit
supporters say a second referendum would trigger a major constitutional
We already put it to the people. And the people roared,” pro-leave group Change Britain said in a tweet.
of Brexit say that while the divorce might bring some short-term
instability, in the longer term Britain would thrive if cut free from
what they cast as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity that is
falling far behind other major powers.
opinion polls have shown a slight shift in favour of remaining in the
European Union, but there has yet to be a decisive change in attitudes.
voters in Britain say they have become increasingly bored by Brexit and
May said on Wednesday that they want this stage of the Brexit process
to be “over and done with.”
protesters disagreed with May’s claim that she is on the side of the
British public, with one placard reading: “You do not speak for us