700,000 People Marched in London to Protest Brexit

Protesters want a second chance to vote before the country leaves the EU.

Anti-Brexit campaigners central London after the People's Vote March for the Future.Press Association via AP

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The backlash to Brexit has been getting bigger and more organized.

Frustrated with political leaders’ handling of Brexit, British protesters gathered in droves on Saturday in their biggest rally yet. The People’s Vote, a collection of organizations that are against the Brexit decision, estimated that roughly 700,000 people marched in central London. Protesters called for a second referendum on the country’s exit from the European Union, which is scheduled to take place next March. 

In June 2016, Britain voted narrowly to leave the European Union, 52 to 48 percent. But now that the deadline is approaching, the negotiations to hammer out the specifics of the deal have hit a wall, namely over how to handle the border between Northern Ireland and Ireland, an EU member. The stalemate has raised concern that there will be no deal when the deadline comes, which some fear would mean economic chaos. 

Since that 2016 vote, public opinion has shifted, with a majority of voters viewing the exit deal in a negative light. The marchers called for a second referendum on Brexit, arguing that public should get another chance to weigh in since the deal under negotiation is far messier and harmful than was first promised in the 2016 vote. Their online petition reads:

We have watched the chaos unfold in Cabinet and the turmoil in negotiations with dismay and foreboding. None of us voted for a bad deal or no deal that would wreck our economy. Nor do we accept that either is inevitable. If the Brexit deal is rejected by Parliament, then we, the people of Britain, should have the democratic right to determine our own future. That is why we are demanding a People’s Vote on the final Brexit deal.

The People’s Vote promises to deliver the petition to parliament once it hits 350,000 signatures. As of Saturday afternoon, it had 30,000 to go.

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This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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