Thousands rally in London against Brexit

Protesters in London holding up pro-Europe placards and European flags as they marched from Park Lane to Parliament Square yesterday.
Protesters in London holding up pro-Europe placards and European flags as they marched from Park Lane to Parliament Square yesterday.PHOTO: AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

Protesters accuse Leave camp of misleading the public and refuse to accept referendum as final say

LONDON • Thousands marched through London yesterday to protest against Britain's vote to leave the European Union.

Chanting "We love you, EU", waving European flags and carrying colourful banners with slogans like "Breverse", they set off in the late morning to march towards the Houses of Parliament.

"The Leave Campaign Lied", "Save our Future" and "Never Gonna Give EU up" read others, the latter referring to the 1980s hit by Rick Astley.

Organisers claimed more than 40,000 took part. Police did not immediately give figures.

"I think the Leave campaign misled people; we are (making) a wrong decision because of the lies," protester Casey, 37, told the Agence France-Presse at the start of the march.

"I would like us to reconsider and I don't want to leave the EU."

The seismic June 23 vote prompted the resignation of Prime Minister David Cameron - who had backed the failed Remain campaign.

It also unleashed a bitter leadership battle in the ruling Conservative party and chaos in the main opposition Labour party, whose leader, Mr Jeremy Corbyn, is now facing all-out revolt.

"We can prevent Brexit by refusing to accept the referendum as the final say and take our finger off the self-destruct button," said organiser Keiran MacDermott on the march's Facebook page.

"Let's not leave the next generation adrift... Let's march, let's protest, and let's stop Brexit."

Britons, many worried about immigration, voted 52 per cent in favour of withdrawing from the EU bloc with 48 per cent against.

The favourites to succeed Mr Cameron have, meanwhile, been pushing for a delay in starting the process that will eventually see Britain leave the 28-member EU.

Front runner Theresa May and high-profile rival Michael Gove have both said they do not expect Article 50 - the formal procedure for leaving the bloc - would be invoked this year.

British media reported yesterday that Energy Minister and Brexit backer Andrea Leadsom has become the favourite to face Mrs May on the ballot paper.

Mr Gove, who torpedoed fellow anti-EU campaigner Boris Johnson's leadership hopes, cast doubt on whether Mrs May could lead the country out of the EU after supporting a "Remain" vote.

However, Mr Gove has also faced fierce criticism for turning on his one-time ally, Mr Johnson.

The shock vote, two weeks back, plunged financial markets into crisis, wiping trillions off equities around the world and sending the pound to its lowest point in more than three decades against the US dollar.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

More reports on Britain's EU referendum online at http://str.sg/brexit

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on July 03, 2016, with the headline 'Thousands rally in London against Brexit'. Print Edition | Subscribe