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Over 1 million rally in London demanding second referendum on Brexit, online petition grows

File photo: EU supporters, calling on the government to give Britons a vote on the final Brexit deal, participate in the 'People's Vote' march in central London, Britain March 23, 2019.  Photograph:( Reuters )

Reuters United Kingdom Mar 24, 2019, 09.33 AM (IST)

A huge rally of people from all over UK flooded London's main streets and marched towards the parliament building on Saturday to demand a second referendum on Brexit, with organizers saying the mass rally gathered over one million protesters to the capital.

Since the referendum on Britain's EU membership took place in June 2016, protests occur almost daily in front of the parliament or in downtown areas, but never on such a magnitude.

Some prominent political figures including Tom Watson, the deputy leader of the opposition Labor Party, the First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon, and Mayor of London Sadiq Khan all delivered speeches at the rally, with many calling for the issue to be "put to the people".

Meanwhile, the number of people who have signed an online petition on the British Parliament website calling on the government to revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU has now exceeded 4.7 million as of Saturday evening, breaking the record for online signatures. According to the relevant laws and regulations of the United Kingdom, once a petition exceeds 10,000 signatures the government must respond publicly and if the number of signatories surpasses 100,000 then parliament must conduct an open debate on the matter.

The European Union on Thursday extended the original March 29 deadline for Britain's departure from the bloc following a series of crunch meetings in Brussels. The move now gives the UK two options to consider.

The first will see the Brexit deadline extended to May 22 if the British House of Commons approves Prime Minister Theresa May's withdrawal agreement next week.

However, the second scenario will occur should May's deal be rejected, with the deadline date instead of being April 12, leaving the threat of the UK crashing out of the EU with "no-deal" a real possibility.

Story highlights

Since the referendum on Britain's EU membership took place in June 2016, protests occur almost daily in front of the parliament or in downtown areas, but never on such a magnitude.