Demonstrations are taking place across the UK against Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend Parliament in the run-up to Brexit. Thousands of protesters have taken to the streets in cities including Manchester, Leeds, York and Belfast. In London, Whitehall has been brought to a standstill, with demonstrators chanting“Boris Johnson, shame on you”. A small group of counter-protesters, marching in support of the prime minister, also arrived in Westminster. Mr Johnson’s plan to prorogue Parliament prompted an angry backlash from MPs and opponents of a no-deal Brexit when he announced it on Wednesday. When Parliament is suspended, no debates and votes are held. This is different to “dissolving” Parliament – where all MPs give up their seats to campaign in a general election. If this prorogation happens as expected, it will see Parliament closed for 23 working days. Critics view the length and timing of the prorogation – coming just weeks before the Brexit deadline on 31 October – as controversial. Protests are taking place in more than 30 towns and cities across the UK, including Edinburgh, Belfast, Cambridge, Exeter, Nottingham, Manchester and Birmingham. In Oxford, crowds holding banners gathered outside Balliol College, where Mr Johnson studied at university.
Named “Stop the Coup”, the protests are organised by anti-Brexit campaign group Another Europe is Possible. The group also said there were protests planned in Amsterdam, Berlin and the Latvian capital Riga. Journalist and activist Owen Jones, who will speak at the London protest, said: “This is about defending democracy.“We have an unelected prime minister shutting down the elected representatives of the British public who are supposed to be scrutinising the biggest upheaval since the end of the war.“I think people who voted Remain or Leave should take to the streets today – no one voted for a no-deal Brexit.
“There will be Remainers [at the protests] but I’ve had Leavers get in touch with me and tell me they will be marching, too.” Chancellor Sajid Javid, speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, defended the prime minister’s decision to suspend Parliament. He said: “It’s quite usual this time of year for Parliament to go in to a recess. It’s perfectly correct and appropriate to prorogue Parliament.“I think it’s absolutely right that this prime minister and his government get the chance to set up their agenda.” Source: BBC