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Hundreds Of Thousands Demonstrate Against Brexit


The deadline for an orderly withdrawal of the United Kingdom from the European Union is looming. And literally marching into the scene this weekend, hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of London demanding a new Brexit referendum and another say on the matter. Charlotte Gallagher is in London. And she joins us now. She's a reporter for the BBC. Good morning.


GARCIA-NAVARRO: So tell me about this demonstration and put it into some context. Was this a surprising turnout for a pro-EU crowd?

GALLAGHER: So the organizers say there was about 700,000 people there. And the Metropolitan Police say they can't confirm the numbers. But, certainly, as you said, hundreds of thousands of people there. And that was well above what the organizers and the police and, I think, the media themselves expected. So a huge turnout from people right across Britain, though. A coach is coming down from Scotland. People flying in from Northern Ireland, coming in from Wales and even people from Europe, especially from Germany, France and Italy that have traveled to London for the march.

So, you know, some of the city's most famous streets, people are marching past there with banners like bin Brexit, Brexit stole my future, people wrapped up in EU flags - kind of children in buggies with EU flags, face paint on. And it's kind of a very British thing. British people like to take their dogs on protest. So a lot of dogs were there kind of dressed up in EU outfits, which their owners obviously really like. I'm not - the dogs didn't look about happy about it. But yeah, lots of dog owners.

But a real - a lot of young people on this march, Lulu, especially people that couldn't vote in the first referendum because they were too young. And they were the ones saying that we're being - they think they're being saddled with a mess, basically, which is severely affecting their future. So a lot of them are really pushing for this people's vote on any kind of Brexit deal the British government agrees.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: Well, is another referendum even possible? I mean, we have these very chaotic negotiations, the prime minister there really struggling to hammer out a deal. Is a vote possible?

GALLAGHER: So legally, it is possible. We could have this second vote. The prime minister, Theresa May, has said there's not going to be another vote. But there could be one, technically. However, it would take months and months to plan a second vote to get all the legislation in place. And as you said at the beginning, Britain is due to leave in March. So probably, if there was going to be some kind of people's vote, it would have to then - the date in March would have to be put back. So the British government would have to agree to that. And all the other countries in the EU - so 27 other countries - would have to agree to doing that. So it's a big ask in this amount of time, really.

GARCIA-NAVARRO: That's the BBC's Charlotte Gallagher in London. Thank you so much. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.