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'Put it to the people': Thousands march in London calling for second Brexit referendum

Meanwhile, more than four million people have signed an online petition calling Article 50 to be revoked.

Brexit Anti-Brexit campaigners take part in the today's protest in London Source: Yui Mok via PA Images

THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE have taken to the streets of London this afternoon calling for another referendum on Brexit. 

Opponents of Britain’s departure from the EU gathered near Hyde Park at 12pm, before moving towards Westminster in what organisers, the People’s Vote group, are calling the “put it to the people march”. 

Speakers including Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and opposition Labour deputy leader Tom Watson are expected to address the crowds at a mass rally outside parliament.

Speaking last night, Khan said: Brexit is a complete and utter mess. I’ll be marching … with people from every part of our country – from every walk of life – to demand that the British people get the final say.” 

Brexit Protestors march in London calling for a second Brexit referendum Source: Aaron Chown via PA Images

The protest – set to be one of the largest in the capital in decades – comes after EU leaders this week granted a delay to Brexit, prompting British Prime Minister Theresa May to make a renewed bid to win MPs’ backing for her divorce deal.

However, May has said a third vote on her Brexit deal may not happen next week if there is insufficient support to approve it.

It was agreed on Thursday that date the UK would leave the EU would be delayed until the 22 May if the deal was passed. However, if the deal is rejected, the date would be delayed by two weeks until 12 April.

Today’s protest follows a similar demonstration in October that drew an estimated half a million people to the streets of London. 

Organisers of today’s protest have arranged hundreds of coaches and a chartered train to bring protestors from across the country to the capital. 

May has repeatedly ruled out holding another referendum on the issue, claiming it would be divisive and renege on promises to honour the 2016 result. 

Brexit People seen with EU flags and placards as they march during today's protest Source: Yui Mok via PA Images

Petition

Meanwhile, more than four million people have signed an online petition calling for the British government to cancel Brexit by revoking Article 50. 

The petition, which was launched yesterday, says a “second Brexit referendum may not happen – so vote now”. 

“The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’. We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU. A People’s Vote may not happen – so vote now,” it reads.

As of 1.45pm this afternoon, the petition had just over 4,275,800 signatures. 

It was started by Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who told the BBC: “I became like every other Remainer – very frustrated that we’ve been silenced and ignored for so long.

So I think now it’s almost like a dam bursting, because we’ve been held back in a sense – it’s almost like last chance saloon now.

She said the petition “didn’t do very well for a week”.

“I nearly gave up but then I contacted a lot of people and it took off,” she added.

Since the launch of the petition, the British Parliament’s petitions committee tweeted that the rate of signings is the “highest the site has ever had to deal with”, after the website briefly crashed earlier. A House of Commons spokesman said the technical difficulties on parliament’s e-petition website were caused by “a large and sustained load on the system”.

Since then, the committee has also attempted to tackle claims that the huge interest in the petition is not fraud, and has claimed that 96% of the signatures to the petition are from the UK.

If a petition on the website gets more than 100,000 signatures, the Parliament is meant to consider it for debate. 

The government is expected to respond to all petitions that get more than 10,000 signatures. 

It is one of the most popular e-petition since parliament launched the website in 2011.

A 2016 petition calling for a second EU referendum should the winning vote and turnout not reach a certain threshold received the most signatories at almost 4.2 million.

A petition to prevent US President Donald Trump from making a state visit to Britain reached 1.9 million signatures.

Includes reporting by © AFP 2019 

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