Hundreds of thousands of people opposed to Britains 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 Mays premiership.
Marchers set off in central London with banners proclaiming the best deal is no Brexit and we demand a Peoples Vote in what organisers said could be the biggest anti-Brexit protest yet.
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.
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.
With Theresa Mays fall right around the corner, this is how to get our country back on track over Brexit
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.
I 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, told Reuters.
Supporters of Brexit say the divorce might bring some short-term instability, but in the longer term Britain will thrive if cut free from what they cast as a doomed experiment in German-dominated unity that is falling far behind other major powers.
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.
Pro-EU 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 ministers office in Downing Street and finish outside parliament.
While 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.
Organisers 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.
Phoebe Poole, 18, who was holding a placard saying never gonna give EU up in reference to a song by 1980s popstar Rick Astley, wasnt old enough to vote in the 2016 referendum.
We 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.
It 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.
Almost three years after Britons voted to walk away from the EU, the blocs leaders this week seized control of the Brexit timetable from May to avert a chaotic departure on March 29 that would be disruptive for the worlds biggest trading bloc and deeply damaging for Britain.
Two 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 Englands 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.
In 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 bloc.
May 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 crisis.
We already put it to the people. And the people roared, pro-leave group Change Britain said in a tweet.
Supporters 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.
LONDON — Anti-Brexit protesters flooded into central London by the hundreds of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britains Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.
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.
Many 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.
But protesters disagreed with Mays claim that she is on the side of the British public, with one placard reading: You do not speak for us Theresa.
PreviousNextHide captionToggle Fullscreen1 of 0 commentsAnti-Brexit protesters flooded into central London by the hundreds of thousands on Saturday, demanding that Britain's Conservative-led government hold a new referendum on whether Britain should leave the European Union.
The "People's Vote March" snaked from Park Lane and other locations to converge on the U.K. Parliament, where the fate of Brexit will be decided in the coming weeks.
Speakers who addressed a rally outside Parliament included Scotlands First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and opposition Labour deputy leader Tom Watson.
Marchers carried European Union flags and signs praising the longstanding ties between Britain and continental Europe. The protest drew people from across Britain who are determined to force Prime Minister Theresa May's government to alter its march toward Brexit.
May also is coming under rising pressure from her own Conservative Party to either step down or set a date for her resignation as her political support continues to wilt. The coming week is seen as crucial as political rivals jockey for position to succeed her.
"I'm afraid it's all over for the PM. She's done her best. But across the country you can see the anger. Everyone feels betrayed. Government's gridlocked. Trust in democracy collapsing. This can't go on. We need a new PM who can reach out & build some sort of coalition for a Plan B," he tweeted.
The exact number of people at the march has yet to be determined but photos show large crowds and organisers are confident the final number will be more than 700,000
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, invited to help lead the march in favour of a second referendum, called the crowd gathered in central London impressive and unified.
"There is a huge turnout of people here from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the country," he tweeted. "We are a Remain country now with 60 per cent wanting to stop the Brexit mess."
Police did not provide a crowd estimate. Independent legislator Chuka Umunna and others supporting a second Brexit referendum estimated the crowd at 1 million.
More than 4 million people endorsed an electronic petition this week in favour of revoking Article 50, the act that formally triggered the Brexit process.
The march comes as May, who opposes a second referendum on Britain's EU membership, is easing away from plans to hold a third vote on her troubled Brexit withdrawal plan, which has been strongly rejected twice by Parliament.
In a letter to lawmakers on Friday night, May said she might not seek passage of her Brexit withdrawal plan in Parliament next week. The embattled leader said she would only bring her EU divorce plan back to Parliament if there seems to be enough backing for it to pass.
"If it appears that there is not sufficient support to bring the deal back next week, or the House rejects it again, we can ask for another extension before 12 April, but that will involve holding European Parliament elections," she said.
May's changing stance reflects the plan's dismal chances in the House of Commons after two prior defeats.
She also says she would need the approval of House Speaker John Bercow to bring the plan back for a third time. Bercow has said a third vote would violate parliamentary rules against repeatedly voting on the same thing unless May's Brexit divorce plan is altered.
Almost three years after Britons voted to walk away from the EU, the bloc's leaders this week seized control of the Brexit timetable from May to avert a chaotic departure on March 29 that would be disruptive for the world's biggest trading bloc and deeply damaging for Britain.
EU leaders at a summit in Brussels set two deadlines for Britain to leave the bloc of nearly half a billion people or to take an entirely new path in considering its EU future.
They agreed to extend the Brexit date until May 22, on the eve of the EU Parliament elections, if May can persuade the British Parliament to endorse her Brexit divorce deal.
Failing that, they gave May until April 12 to choose between leaving the bloc without a divorce deal or deciding on a radically new path, such as revoking Britain's decision to leave, holding a new referendum on Brexit or finding a cross-party consensus for a very different kind of Brexit.
Despite May's letter to lawmakers, it was not clear what path her minority government would take this week.
The anti-Brexit marchers on Saturday included 63-year-old Edmund Sides, who spent the last three weeks walking from Wales to London in order to take part.
Sides, a geologist, said he wanted to be able to speak to people along the way, encouraging families that have been split between Leave and Remain to mend their fences and talk.
He is worried about the vicious tone that Brexit arguments have started to take and worries about national cohesion.
To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.