London, Oct 20 (IANS) Over half a million people marched through central London on Saturday calling for a second, final vote on the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, protest organizers announced.
Demonstrators assembled at London’s Park Lane before marching en masse towards Parliament Square in a show of force that hoped to bring about a so-called People’s Vote, essentially a second referendum on whether to go ahead with Brexit once a final deal has been drafted, the BBC reported.
Organizers at the People’s Vote HQ said more than 570,000 people had descended on central London, with many coming from across the nation to vent their frustration with the Brexit process. Scotland Yard said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd.
Several well-known British personalities have endorsed the People’s Vote initiative, as have politicians from across the political spectrum, including London Mayor Sadiq Khan.
Khan, who started the march, was among those to speak at Parliament Square, along with representatives from the main political parties.
“What’s clear is that the only options on the table now from the Prime Minister are a bad Brexit deal, or no deal whatsoever. That’s a million miles away from what was promised two-and-a-half years ago,” he said.
Labour’s Lord Adonis, a campaigner for People’s Vote, said: “Brexit’s becoming a dog’s dinner. This week’s fresh chaos and confusion over Brexit negotiations has exposed how even the best deal now available will be a bad one for Britain.”
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon sent a message of support to the rally, saying the Scottish National Party would support a vote that would give the option of staying in the EU.
Richard Tice, founder of Leave Means Leave and former co-chair of Leave.EU, said: “The idea that you should have a second referendum would be incredibly damaging, most of all to the trust in democracy from people up and down this country.”
The protest came at a time when Brexit negotiations were deadlocked over how to maintain a soft border between the Republic of Ireland, an EU member state, and Northern Ireland, which is part of the UK, once Britain is no longer part of the EU’s single market.
British Prime Minister Theresa May, who leads the minority Conservative Party government, had dismissed the possibility of staging a referendum on the terms and conditions of Brexit.
The UK narrowly voted to leave the EU in a referendum in June 2016. The country is on track to leave in March 2019, with or without a deal.