Blue and yellow flares set off by pro-EU supporters as Farage arrives in Sunderland
PUBLISHED: 11:51 16 March 2019 | UPDATED: 12:06 16 March 2019
Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved
There were chaotic scenes as a march led by Nigel Farage left Sunderland in order to protest against a Brexit delay.
The March to Leave set off from the North East city on Saturday morning, and will make its way over to London over a 14-day period, arriving in the capital on March 29, where a mass rally will take place on Parliament Square.
Just 350 protesters have signed up for the event, but counter-protests are expected to take place.
Angry rows broke out as the march started, with several counter-protesters assembling in order to get their views across.
They were carrying love hearts bearing messages like “we love workers’ rights” and “we love to have a say”, but some marchers responded by calling them “EU money grabbers”.
The counter-protesters were also told to respect the 2016 referendum result, with one man waving a fake blue passport in their direction.
As Farage arrived, a flare was set off with the EU colours, with shouts of “exit Brexit” emanating form the counter-protesters.
Two advertising vans, made by the anti-Brexit grassroots campaign Led By Donkeys, will also follow the march.
Barry Lockey, who arrived in Sunderland carrying a flag with the message “Get Britain out: Time to leave the EU”, said that the event is about supporting democracy.
He said: “The democracy in the parliament building has been spot on. They’ve got their no-deal taken off the table by four votes.”
Lockey pointed out that this margin was much smaller than the 4% margin of victory during the EU referendum, which he said is now being discredited.
He added: “I’m sorry, but that really riles me. And they’re not going to get away with it.
“They’re going to get kicked out, them people, and they’re an absolute damned disgrace.”
In contrast, one counter-protester told the Press Association “it’s going to be a disaster if we leave.”
Frank Hindle, 66, said: “We’re here to point out that not everybody agrees with this crowd, who think it’s going to be wonderful if we leave.”
Discussing the no-deal Brexit that many of the marchers are calling for, he said: “The impact that will have on businesses and on prices, and on the availability of things like medicines and so forth, it doesn’t bear thinking about.”