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1 million rally in London for 2nd Brexit vote

By Clyde Hughes   |   Updated March 23, 2019 at 4:13 PM
Thousands of citizens in London take part in a march for a people's vote to attempt to influence the prime minister and her government to grant a second vote on the exit from the European Union on Saturday. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI Thousands of citizens in London take part in a march for a people's vote to attempt to influence the prime minister and her government to grant a second vote on the exit from the European Union on Saturday. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI Actor Steve Coogan speaks at an anti-Brexit march. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI Labour MP David Lammy speaks at an anti-Brexit march. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI London Mayor Sadiq Khan speaks at an anti-Brexit march. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI Labor Deputy Chairman Tom Watson speaks at an anti-Brexit march. Photo by Hugo Philpott/UPI

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March 23 (UPI) -- More than 1 million people participated in a march in London on Saturday, demanding a second public vote on Brexit as the country teeters on the verge of leaving the European Union without a deal.

Many of the protesters ended up at Parliament Square, where speakers took the stage in the rally to encourage participants, the Guardian reported.

Tom Watson, deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, directly challenged Prime Minister Theresa May on Twitter after his speech.

"The Prime Minister claims she speaks for Britain," Watson wrote. "Well, have a look out of the window, Prime Minister. Open your curtains. Switch on your TV. Look at this great crowd today. Here are the people. Theresa May: you don't speak for us."

May has failed twice to get her negotiated Brexit deal with the European Union through Parliament. EU Council President Donald Tusk on Wednesday agreed to give Britain an extension to its Brexit deadline but only if the British Parliament agrees on a deal next week.

May had asked for a three-month delay to the Brexit deadline, giving Parliament more time to debate the country's planned departure. The country has until Friday to depart the EU, but May asked for a new deadline of June 30.

Nicola Sturgeon, the first minister of Scotland, said there should be an extension to facilitate a second referendum.

"This is now the moment of maximum opportunity -- we need to avoid both the catastrophe of no-deal and the damage which would be caused by the prime minister's bad deal," Sturgeon said at the rally. "The EU's decision to postpone things until at least April 12 has opened a window, and those of us who oppose Brexit must seize the chance it offers."

London Mayor Sadiq Khan joined the protesters, holding up a "Put it to the People" banner at the front of the march as it started. Khan said the time to agree on a Brexit plan has now passed and Parliament needs to return to the voters.

"There is no time left for further negotiations," Khan told the rally. "And the prime minister has wasted the good will of our European neighbors with her chaotic and confused approach. Those who wanted to help us secure a good deal for both sides now just want the process to end."

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