Thousands take to the streets to defend democracy across the UK

PUBLISHED: 14:17 31 August 2019 | UPDATED: 16:06 31 August 2019

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Chants of 'shame on you' were directed at Boris Johnson by demonstrators outside Downing Street as streets around government buildings in Westminster were brought to a standstill.

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Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Scores more have taken place across the United Kingdom - all united by the same cause - against the PM's decision to suspend parliament for up to five weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.

Demonstrators gathered outside Oxford University's Balliol College, which was attended by Johnson, to express their displeasure about his handling of Brexit.

Lesley McKie, who was at the college with her family, criticised the "undemocratic actions of Boris Johnson and (senior adviser) Dominic Cummings".

Denouncing the prime minister outside the institution where he established his "political profile" sends "a powerful message to Johnson and others leading this coup", she added.

Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Shadow chancellor John McDonnell told the large crowd gathered on Whitehall: "It is a fight to protect our democracy - we know what Boris Johnson is up to, it is not very subtle is it?

"He wants to close down our democracy and force through a no-deal Brexit."

McDonnell said previous generations fought and made huge sacrifices, some giving their lives, in the fight for parliamentary democracy so they could "have their say over policies and the future of our country".

He added: "Boris Johnson, this is not about parliament versus the people, this is about you versus the people."

Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

More than 1,000 protesters gathered in cities including York, Manchester and Newcastle.

Chris McHugh, 33, who works for Labour MP Liz Twist and was demonstrating in Newcastle, said the protest is about "protecting democracy".

He added: "The fact that thousands have taken to the streets of Newcastle today is so telling."

NHS pharmacist Bridie Walton, 55, joined protesters in Exeter. She said: "Nobody voted for a dictatorship.

Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

"These are the actions of a man who is afraid his arguments will not stand scrutiny.

"Before the Brexit vote I'd never been to a demo in my life... I am watching a nastier world emerge."

In Manchester a counterprotest led by self-styled yellow vest protester James Goddard was jeered by anti-Brexit campaigners.

Wearing a Trump 2020 T-shirt and a Public Enemy baseball cap backwards, he took to a loudhailer.

Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.Campaigners in York take part in #StopTheCoup protests. Photograph: Danny Lawson/PA Wire.

Goddard invited them for one-on-one conversations on camera but police prevented anyone coming forward.

He was banned from going near parliament for five years after hurling abuse at Remain-supporting MP Anna Soubry and was handed an eight-week jail sentence, suspended for a year.

- More protests are taking place over the coming days - find your nearest anti-Brexit event here.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Protesters in Newcastle taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks. Photograph: Chris McHugh/PA Wire

.Protesters in Newcastle taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks. Photograph: Chris McHugh/PA Wire .

Protesters in Newcastle taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks. Photograph: Chris McHugh/PA Wire

.Protesters in Newcastle taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks. Photograph: Chris McHugh/PA Wire .

Protesters in Oxford taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. Photograph: Lesley McKie/PA Wire.Protesters in Oxford taking part in a demonstration against Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. Photograph: Lesley McKie/PA Wire.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.Campaigners are fighting to #stopthecoup in Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/London.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Central London are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.Protesters in Central London are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters outside Balliol College in Oxford, previously attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as they are taking part in a demonstration against the Prime Minister's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. Photograph: Lesley McKie/PA Wire

.Protesters outside Balliol College in Oxford, previously attended by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, as they are taking part in a demonstration against the Prime Minister's decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks before a Queen's Speech on October 14. Photograph: Lesley McKie/PA Wire .

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol are fighting to defend our democracy. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Susie Burlace, originally from England, at a protest outside Belfast City Hall. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire.Susie Burlace, originally from England, at a protest outside Belfast City Hall. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire.

Brigitte Anton, who is originally from Frankfurt but has lived in Belfast for 31 years, at a protest outside Belfast City Hall. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire.Brigitte Anton, who is originally from Frankfurt but has lived in Belfast for 31 years, at a protest outside Belfast City Hall. Photograph: David Young/PA Wire.

A sign by a protester in Horse Guards Parade, London, taking part in a Stop The Coup demonstration. Photograph: @krfabian/PA Wire

.A sign by a protester in Horse Guards Parade, London, taking part in a Stop The Coup demonstration. Photograph: @krfabian/PA Wire .

Protesters in Bristol fight Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol fight Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Protesters in Bristol fight Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.Protesters in Bristol fight Boris Johnson's plan to prorogue parliament. Photograph: Ben Birchall/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire.

Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.Stop The Coup protests take over Central London. Photograph: Rick Findler/PA Wire.

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