Contributed from Victoria
Big crowds turned up to rallies across Britain, with the backlash against prime minister Boris Johnson’s attempt to suspend parliament.
Carrying banners calling to “defend democracy” and shouting, “stop the coup,” the biggest crowd fronted up outside Downing Street, where the residence of the prime minister is.
Video by The Guardian
Protesters have also made their presence in places as diverse as Manchester, Glasgow, Birmingham, Brighton, Swansea, Bristol and Liverpool. They took place in a number of cities through Europe.
Johnson is accused of having cut out parliament from discussing Brexit, as it moves towards a disastrous no deal culmination. Protests have taken place in at least 30 cities and towns.
Britons have been outraged by the move, in part because it does bring to the fore, a politics where the parliament is shut down because a government may not like an outcome, and partly because of the revelation that the plan had been made in secret some time before. Even most of the cabinet didn’t know about it. This is hardly an expression of open government.
It is also an outcome of the mess that has been of Brexit all along.
A yes vote won the referendum on Brexit, but critics say that it was highly manipulated, and since what is at stake has become clearer now, there should be another referendum. Failure to do this has only worked to further divide the nation.
The whole process, and especially its handling by Boris Johnson in these final stages, has added to the sense that British democracy is somewhat less than it is said to be.
It has become clearer now that, if it not convenient, it can be shut down under the existing law. This suggests that the real political power is not in the parliament.
Whether the closing down of parliament is strictly within the law is to be tested by court action. There is not a great expectation that the case will succeed.
The reaction against the Johnson move has been such that even a considerable number of members of the government’s own political party, the Conservatives are angry, and are reported to be talking the Labour and Democrats about possible joint action.
There is a new groundswell favouring remaining within the European Union.