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Thousands protest Boris Johnson's Parliament shutdown

By
Sommer Brokaw
Anti-Brexit protestors block the road in Central London to complain about the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit in London on Saturday. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI
Anti-Brexit protestors block the road in Central London to complain about the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to shut down Parliament to force through a no deal Brexit in London on Saturday. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI | License Photo

Aug. 31 (UPI) -- Thousands of people took to the streets Saturday to protest British Prime Minister Boris Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament earlier in the week.

As people chanted, "Boris Johnson, shame on you," parts of central London came to a standstill, stopping traffic in Whitehall and West End.

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A small group of counter-protesters also rallied in central London in support of Johnson.

Protesters also staged a sit-down protest around Trafalgar Square, before they marched to Buckingham Palace in London shouting: "Whose democracy? Our democracy."

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The Westminster bridge, Trafalgar Square and Parliament Square were closed to traffic Saturday due to the demonstrations.

Simon Murphy of the Guardian tweeted Saturday afternoon that police have now cleared demonstrators back from Trafalgar square, and Scotland Yard confirmed three arrests in the capital.

Along with London, protests occurred in more than 30 towns and cities, with some of them in Leeds, York, Edinburgh, Belfast, Cambridge, Nottingham, Liverpool, Manchester, Belfast and Birmingham.

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Queen Elizabeth II agreed with Johnson's move Wednesday to temporarily suspend Parliament from early September to October 14, saying the move would allow him to pursue his domestic polices better. However, opponents say that he is trying to quash lawmakers from blocking a no-deal Brexit and the move is anti-democratic.

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Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn said the protesters' message to the prime minister just weeks before the Brexit deadline on Oct. 31 was "no way do you take us out without a deal."

Protests named "stop the coup," were organized by anti-Brexit campaign group Another Europe is Possible.

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Chancellor Sajid Javid defended Johnson's decision to suspend Parliament while speaking on BBC Radio 4's Today program.

"It's quite usual this time of year for Parliament to go in to a recess," Javid said. "It's perfectly correct and appropriate to prorogue Parliament . . . I think it's absolutely right that this prime minister and his government get a chance to set up their agenda."

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