Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 25 April 2019

‘Betrayed’ pro-Brexit protesters rally outside parliament

"We're not going to let [Brexit] go without a fight," said one of the protesters

Brexit supporters march into Westminster from Fulham in the final leg of the March To Leave Rally. Getty 
Brexit supporters march into Westminster from Fulham in the final leg of the March To Leave Rally. Getty 

Pro-Brexit protesters claimed they had been betrayed by the country’s politicians as a march to parliament aimed at celebrating Britain’s departure from the European Union ended on Friday without a fixed leave date.

Traffic around Westminster in central London was brought to a standstill as protesters gathered to express their frustration.

Care worker Lorraine Jowett from Stafford said if the 2016 referendum result was not upheld the UK could expect to see further disruption from angry Brexit supporters.

“We better not [stay in]. I’ve joined Brexit protest and Direct Action and we’re going to cause havoc,” she said.

“We’re going to blockade places. We’re not going to let it go without a fight.”

Several thousand people gathered to hear far-right activist Tommy Robinson – real name Stephen Yaxley Lennon – announce that UK prime minister Theresa May’s withdrawal agreement had been defeated.

“Theresa May has lost her vote. Many people will be asking what does that even mean,” he told the protesters.

“It means we were betrayed. Today is supposed to be our Independence Day.”

Many at the protest – including Mr Robinson – were calling for Britain to leave the EU without an agreement rather than the prime minister’s divorce deal.

Far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, speaks outside the Houses of Parliament. Reuters
Far-right activist Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, who goes by the name Tommy Robinson, speaks outside the Houses of Parliament. Reuters

Mr Robinson, who was the founder of the far-right English Defence League, recently joined the pro-Brexit UK Independence Party (UKIP), one of the organisers of the protest.

Kevin, one of the protesters at the rally, became a member of UKIP six years ago.

“There’s nothing wrong with Tommy Robinson,” said Kevin, who refused to give his surname. “I’ve met him and been on quite a few of his rallies. He’s not far right, he’s just right.”

There were a number of UKIP flags waving in the air but not everyone there was a supporter of the party.

Peter Plumb, 75, said he had no affiliation to any political group but had attended the march because he felt betrayed by the government’s handling of the Brexit process.

“I’ve never been on a march before,” he said. “I’m a quiet ordinary person and I don’t get angry but this is the first time I’ve got angry.”

The sense of anger for Britain’s political class was visible in the signs marchers had brought with them.

“They are traitors in my eyes,” said protester Alicia Draper.

The 34-year-old had brought along a white sheet with a number of unflattering descriptions for parliament including “poisonous”, “pompous”, “liars”, “evil”, “enemy” and “traitors” painted in red.

“It’s not threatening in any way,” she said when asked by The National. “I’ve not had one person apart from you question it. They’ve all agreed with it.”

Brothers John and Keith Roberts said they had attended the protest to show their frustration at the delay to Brexit.

“Today we should be leaving the EU and all they’ve done is cover up after cover up,” said John.

Updated: March 29, 2019 09:10 PM

SHARE

SHARE