Tens of thousands of supporters of the European Union have marched through London in the biggest demonstration so far to demand the British Government holds a public vote on the terms of Brexit.
- Organisers estimate 670,000 protesters attended
- 52 per cent voted to leave the EU in 2016
- Prime Minister Theresa May has ruled out holding a second referendum
The protesters waved the blue and gold flag of the EU and held up “Bollocks to Brexit” banners under sunny skies to call for another referendum on the eventual deal on how Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.
The “People’s Vote” march comes as pressure builds on Prime Minister Theresa May over her negotiating strategy with just over five months until Britain is due to leave.
Protesters at the People’s March in London called for another vote on Brexit. (Reuters: Simon Dawson)
There is, so far, no divorce deal and some rebels in May’s Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.
James McGrory, one of the organisers of the march, said the public should have the chance to change their minds because the decision will impact generations of Britons.
“People think the Brexit negotiations are a total mess, they have no faith in the Government to deliver the promises that were made, partly because they cannot be delivered,” he said.
At the march, demonstrators carried placards saying “Brexit is pants” and “time for an EU turn”.
Members of Parliament from all the main political parties are set to join the demonstration.
Organisers said about 700,000 people took part in the march, which saw 150 buses of marchers pour into the British capital from all across the country.
Police did not provide an attendance estimate, but the organisers’ estimate would make it the largest march in Britain since a demonstration against the Iraq war in 2003.
The 2016 referendum saw a 52 per cent vote in favour of leaving the European Union.
But the past two years have been politically fraught as the Government has struggled to agree on a plan and there are fears that Britain might leave the bloc without a deal.
Some 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 and many in Britain say they have become increasingly bored by Brexit.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly ruled out holding a second referendum.
London Mayor Sadiq Khan sounds a horn as he joins protesters in the People’s Vote March. (AP: Yui Mok)
The opposition Labour party said last month they were open to a second referendum with the option of staying in the bloc in certain circumstances.
Brexit supporters say a second referendum would trigger a major constitutional crisis, said Richard Tice, vice-chairman of Leave Means Leave, which wants a clean break with the EU.
“We had a vote, we voted to leave, the idea to have a second referendum would be incredibly damaging,” he said.
“People need to be under no illusions as to how people feel about what is a significant potential for a total betrayal of democracy in this country.”
Protesters unfurl a banner on Westminster Bridge before an anti-Brexit demonstration in London. (Reuters: Simon Dawson )