Nationwide protests begin in Britain over suspension of parliament

British Parliament

Hundreds of people blocked London’s normally busy Whitehall road on Saturday to protest Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s suspension of the British parliament.

They gathered outside the gates protecting the prime minister’s London residence at 10 Downing Street and chanted “Boris Johnson, shame on you,” “Trump’s puppet, shame on you,” “Liar Johnson, shame on you,” the Press Association (PA) reports.

The protesters also rang a bell, blew whistles and beat a drum, PA reported, adding that they carried placards and European Union flags.

A small crowd gathered in Belfast, more than 1,000 gathered in York and 1,000 in Manchester, according to PA.

Organizers had been expecting hundreds of thousands of people to turn out in London, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Liverpool, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Oxford and York, among other cities, and in Aberdeen and Glasgow in Scotland, as well as Belfast.

The anti-Brexit initiative “Another Europe Is Possible” had issued the call to protest.

It was joined by, among others, the leader of the main opposition Labour party, Jeremy Corbyn, the Labour grassroots organization Momentum and environmental activists from the YouthStrike4Climate campaign.

Mr Johnson on Wednesday successfully petitioned Queen Elizabeth II to prorogue or suspend Parliament in London from mid-September to mid-October, when he plans to submit his government programme in a new parliamentary session.

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“The public outrage at Boris Johnson shutting down democracy has been deafening,” Labour leader Corbyn tweeted on Friday. “People are right to take to the streets – and I encourage everyone to join the demonstrations in London and across the country tomorrow.”

Mr Corbyn did not seem to have turned up on Saturday, but his colleague and shadow home secretary Diana Abbott addressed the crowd in Whitehall, saying that he sent his support for the demonstration.

“We cannot allow Boris Johnson to shut down parliament and to shut down the voice of ordinary British people,” PA quoted her as saying.

Many in the crowd shouted “Where is Jeremy?” PA reported.

Parliament is in fact routinely prorogued, but the move is highly controversial shortly before Britain’s planned exit from the European Union by the deadline of October 31.

The suspension has greatly shortened the time in which members of parliament could debate possible legislative procedures to prevent Brexit happening without a deal.

(dpa/NAN)

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