EU supporters lead a cart with an effigy of Theresa May as they participate in the ‘People’s Vote’ march in central London on Saturday. Reuters
LONDON: 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.
Marchers 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.
“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.
“The country will be divided whatever happens and it is worse to be divided on a lie.” 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 minister’s 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. “NEVER GONNA GIVE EU 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, wasn’t 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.