Thousands march in London to demand UK rejoin EU

The UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016, called by then-prime minister David Cameron…reports Asian Lite News

Protesters against the UK’s exit from the European Union have labelled the move “a huge mistake” as they campaigned to re-join the bloc. A large crowd of pro-EU protestors gathered outside the Hilton hotel on Park Lane in west London for the National Rejoin March (NRM) on Saturday.

Hundreds of people dressed in blue clothing and carrying EU flags filled the pavement ahead of the march through the city’s streets, which was due to culminate with a rally at Parliament Square.

Clusters of Metropolitan Police officers were at the scene as protesters handed out flyers and passing cars beeped their horns in support.

The UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum in June 2016, called by then-prime minister David Cameron. Peter Corr, leader and co-founder of NRM, said he decided to organise the march as it “felt like everyone had given up” on the cause.

Corr, a lorry driver from Derby, told the PA news agency: “Brexit was a huge mistake, we’re all – especially working class and poorer people – paying for it and we need to do something about it.”

He said 60% of the country, and 80% of people aged under 25, consistently say they would re-join the EU in polls, adding: “I hate racism and xenophobia and that’s just what a big part of that ‘Vote Leave’ campaign really felt like to me.”

Ceira Sergeant, 21, from Walton in Liverpool, one of speakers at the rally, said: “I was only 14 when the referendum happened, so there was a huge amount of my peers who never got the chance to have their voices heard.”

Protestors held up placards before the march expressing their discontent with leaving the EU, including “The road to re-join the EU starts here”, and “Re-join, Rejoice”.

Another sign read: “Tories out, migrants welcome – Rejoin the EU”.

Individual groups from across the country, including Devon, Cornwall and Stratford, were present with personalised placards. Protestors from other European countries also attended the event with many wearing EU-styled berets.

Representatives of the Green Party also displayed a banner in solidarity of the protests. Terry Reintke, member of European Parliament from Germany and co-chairwoman of the Green Group in the parliament, said Europeans see events like the march with “a lot of sympathy” and that the UK is viewed as an “absolutely integral partner”.

She said: “The UK has managed to build one of the biggest pro-European movements across Europe, and we can still feel there are so many millions of people in the UK who want to rejoin the EU.” Asked whether there had been discussions in European Parliament about the UK’s possible return, Reintke said: “If there was a willingness to re-join, our door would be open.”

Lisa Burton, 53, from Rhonda Valley in Wales, now lives in Lanzarote, Spain and is vice chairwoman of campaigning group Bremain in Spain. She said: “It’s just becoming evident of the damages of Brexit – every sector is suffering.

“We’re British immigrants living in the EU who took advantage of the freedom of movement, and I feel British people have a very warped image of what that is – they think it’s only inward. We think that sticking plasters over Brexit is never going to be enough,” Burton added.

The opposition Labour Party leader Keir Starmer on Friday was forced to deny he wanted to rejoin the EU after recent comments led the ruling Conservatives to accuse him of wanting to “unpick Brexit”.

Starmer insisted there was no case for returning to the EU, its customs union or the single market. The leader of the Liberal Democrats, the fourth largest party in parliament, has also said voters are no longer “talking about Europe” on the doorstep.

The Lib Dems had previously pledged to “stop Brexit”. “We want Britain to be back at the heart of Europe but we’re also realistic that’s going to take some time,” Ed Davey said ahead of his party’s annual conference on Saturday.

On the march reaching Parliament Square, dancers waved EU flags while preparations were made for the speeches. German MEP Terry Reintke told those watching: “When I see thousands of Europeans in the streets it makes me so hopeful that we will be back together again.

“The EU is far from perfect we know this. We live in a cost of living crisis, we see war in Ukraine where geopolitical situation is really hard. Europeans are struggling. It’s even more important for EU to stand together.

“People are clear we want the UK to be part of that we want the UK to rejoin the European Union. We are still with you, we love you and we want you back.”

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