Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of London to demonstrate against Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament until two weeks before Brexit zero-hour.
Chanting “shame on you, Boris Johnson,” anti-Brexit activists congregated outside 10 Downing Street. Shadow Home Secretary Dianne Abbott addressed the crowds outside Johnson’s residence, telling them “before too long Jeremy Corbyn will be in 10 Downing Street and Boris will be gone.”
In addition to the demonstrations in London, protests are planned in several other UK cities, including York, Bristol, Belfast, Birmingham, Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea, Leeds, and Aberdeen. Further afield, aggrieved remainers are expected to stage demonstrations in Amsterdam and Berlin.
With the blessing of Queen Elizabeth II, Parliament will be suspended from early next month until October 14, denying MPs the opportunity to debate and draft anti-no-deal and anti-Brexit legislation until two weeks before Johnson’s deadline of October 31. The new prime minister has vowed to pull Britain out of the European Union by Halloween, whether EU leaders change the terms of their deal or not.
While Parliament is usually suspended for several weeks in Autumn, protesters have lashed out at Johnson for choosing to do so at a pivotal time for the country, and against the wishes of the public. More than a million Britons signed a petition against the recess, and just over one quarter of the country supports the move, according to a poll from YouGov.
“Thousands of us have taken to the streets across Britain to fight for democracy, stop the self inflicted disaster of No Deal – which has no mandate and will hammer working class communities – and to fight the injustices that caused today’s turmoil,”tweeted anti-Brexit activist Owen Jones. Protest groups organized under the banner ‘stop the coup’, and claimed that by bypassing Parliament, Johnson set “a dangerous precedent.”
Brexiteers, meanwhile, have argued that the 2016 decision to leave the EU was a democratic one, and accused the protesters themselves of attempting to subvert democracy. “The elite are now taking to our streets and flouncing off to our courts trying to ‘stop No Deal’ – a thin smokescreen for annulling Brexit itself,” wrote one pro-Brexit Twitter account. “This, not Boris’s brief suspension of Parliament, is the true assault on our democracy.”
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