Anti-Brexit protesters march on parliament to demand a voice for the 48%
PUBLISHED: 18:28 25 March 2017 | UPDATED: 20:48 25 March 2017
Tens of thousands of defiant Remainers have sent a clear message to Downing Street: “Stop Brexit.”
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only continue to grow with your support.
Protesters marched through central London before gathering in Parliament Square to deliver their message before the gates of the Palace of Westminster.
The sunny square was filled with protesters, many draped in the European flag and waving banners aloft, including a number declaring “We are not afraid” in reference to the Westminster terror attack.
Organisers refused to call off the event after the attack saying in a statement: “We will not be intimidated. We will stand in unity and solidarity. We will march on the heart of our democracy and reclaim our streets in honour and respect of those that fell.”
The New European distributed more than 1,800 placards to ensure the message was driven home loud and clear with one proclaiming “Whingeing, Liberal, Elitist, Snowflake (and proud)” while others highlighted rising hate crime and the Brexit-battered pound.
Although official numbers are not yet clear it is believed more than 50,000 people took part in the demonstration – but the final figure could be as high as 100,000.
Addressing the crowd The New European Editor-at-Large Alastair Campbell said: “When you see a car heading toward a cliff, you don’t keep driving.”
He also paid tribute to those who had lost their lives in the terror attack before asking the thousands crammed into the square to observe in a minute’s silence. Campaigners stood with their heads bowed – only the sound of Big Ben chiming broke the silence.
The protest - organised by Unite for Europe – comes as EU leaders gathered in Rome to celebrate 60 years since the Treaty of Rome was signed.
All the European Union countries, excluding the UK, signed a new declaration to honour the 1957 treaty. With the triggering of Article 50 just days away Prime Minister Theresa May has stayed away.
Just a few hundred yards from May’s front door former Liberal Democrat leader, and deputy prime minister Nick Clegg told a good-natured yet feisty crowd: “Thank you for standing for the principles of openness, tolerance and pluralism ... and a European Union that of course is not perfect but has done so much for protecting us from tyranny.
“Like many of you I was profoundly saddened by the outcome of the referendum but that sadness has given way to a perpetual sense of anger about the choices that Theresa May and her government have taken since.
“It was a choice to pull us out of the customs union, it was a choice to embark on that demeaning bout of transatlantic obsequiousness,” Clegg explains, as he accuses the prime minister of “threatening to turn our country into a bargain basement cowboy economy.”
A similar march took place in Edinburgh organised by the city’s Young European Movement.
Marchers gathered in the city centre before heading to the Scottish Parliament, waving EU and Scottish flags and carrying placards reading “We want EU to stay” and “In business lying is a crime, why not in politics?”
Among those giving speeches were Green MSP Ross Greer, Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP from the Liberal Democrats, SNP MPs Tommy Sheppard and Joanna Cherry.
Young European Movement Edinburgh chairman Jean Francois-Poncet said the march was to protest against Brexit and commemorate 60 years of the European Union.
He said: “We want to raise the issue in British and Scottish people’s lives that you have lies in the referendum campaign that people were not held accountable for and, whether you voted Remain or Leave, that is a real issue.”
Become a Supporter
Almost four years after its creation The New European goes from strength to strength across print and online, offering a pro-European perspective on Brexit and reporting on the political response to the coronavirus outbreak, climate change and international politics. But we can only rebalance the right wing extremes of much of the UK national press with your support. If you value what we are doing, you can help us by making a contribution to the cost of our journalism.Become a supporter