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Hundreds of thousands protest in London to demand new Brexit vote

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Protesters swamped London demanding another vote on EU membership amid political paralysis over Brexit.



Hundreds of thousands of protesters swamped London on Saturday demanding another referendum on EU membership amid political paralysis over Brexit, in one of the country's biggest protests in decades.
Organisers said about a million people opposed to Britain leaving the European Union joined what they called the "Put it to the People" march, descending on the capital by road and rail from across the country.
Wielding an array of anti-Brexit signs and EU flags, they first gathered at Hyde Park before walking the approximately two-mile route to Westminster-whistling, cheering and chanting.
"It's terrible," protester Emma Sword told AFP of the current political gridlock.
"We need to revoke Article 50 and if we can't do that, then we need the people's vote," she said, referring to the EU legal mechanism Britain invoked for Brexit.
At the endpoint of the march outside parliament, speakers including Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, London Mayor Sadiq Khan and opposition Labour deputy leader Tom Watson rallied the crowds through the afternoon.
"We've seen how the government has ignored our warnings time and time again," said Khan.
"It's time to say loud and clear: enough is enough."
A host of other political figures also joined the demonstration, including Independent Group MPs who quit Britain's two mainstream parties-the Conservatives and Labour-earlier this year in protest at their Brexit policies.
"This cause is actually bigger than any political party, it is bigger than any tribalism, and it is what unites us," said Anna Soubry, one of the breakaway lawmakers.
A majority of MPs voted against holding another referendum on the issue earlier this month, and it remains a longshot bid by Remainers.
But with the protest coming just days after EU leaders granted a delay to Brexit, people are increasingly hopeful they could still force a public vote.
"The message is clear: stop Brexit," said the leader of the Liberal Democrats Vince Cable, who led the march as it set off at lunchtime.
"We are now a Remain country. Nearly 90 percent of young voters who weren't allowed to vote in 2016 would vote to remain," he added.
Science student Calypso Latham, 19, echoed the point.
"I was too young to vote in the last referendum," she told the BBC.
"It's going to affect my career with research grants so I definitely wanted to come and protest."
This week's agreed delay to Brexit, which was set for March 29, has prompted Prime Minister Theresa May to make a renewed bid to win MPs' backing for her divorce deal.
If she succeeds, Britain will depart on May 22 under the terms of the withdrawal agreement the prime minister struck with Brussels last year.
But if lawmakers defeat the accord again, as expected, London must outline a new plan or face a no-deal Brexit as early as April 12 -- unless it decides to request another extension and hold European Parliament elections in May.
Called by the People's Vote pressure group, Saturday's protest follows a similar demonstration in October that drew an estimated half a million people.
Organisers arranged hundreds of coaches and even chartered a train to bring protesters from all corners of the country to the capital.

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