WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Parliament protesters to counter Brexit ‘coup’

Masses urged to blockade central London roads bridges and squares

30 August, 2019

Police issued a notice demanding protesters move on

HUNDREDS of thousands of people are being urged to take direct action across Westminster this week in protest at prime minister Boris Johnson’s “shut down” of parliament.

Radical groups and trade unions are calling on members to blockade roads, bridges and squares around central London in response to the prime minister’s controversial play.

The People’s Assembly, which has organised big demonstrations against Donald Trump and Brexit this year, has also called a mass demo on Tuesday against the “coup against democracy” that will ­suspend parliament for a crucial period in the build-up to Brexit.

The group’s demonstration, in Parliament Square, from 6-8pm will hear from speakers including Tariq Ali, the radical writer, who said yesterday (Thursday) the Labour Party had got itself to blame for Mr Johnson’s plan being signed-off by the Queen.

He said: “Boris uses all the undemocratic loopholes the system has maintained to push through his version of Brexit. Why should he not? Ever since the demise of Tony Benn, the Labour left has virtually ignored all the Bennite demands that included dissolving the House of Lords, removing the royal prerogative and making parliament sovereign… For Labour to appeal to the Queen is slightly pathetic. They should be appealing to the masses.”
There have been calls to abolish the monarchy by Labour MPs after the Queen did not contest Mr Johnson’s plan on Wednesday.

Art critic Charles Darwent

Momentum said its members will begin “radical action” in Westminster tomorrow (Saturday) and national co-ordinator Laura Parker said: “This is an establishment coup by a tiny, privileged élite who have been eroding our democracy for decades. Real power doesn’t sit with the Queen or in parliament.

It’s with us, the people – and that’s why we need to take action.”

The People’s Assembly group is continuing to call for a “people’s vote” on Brexit, which Mr Johnson says will happen on October 31. He is to shut down parliament between September 12 and October 14 to help him push through Brexit with or without a deal. He has also signalled his intent to announce a new legislative agenda he says will aim to alter the country significantly.

Mr Johnson wrote to MPs to outline his plan on Wednesday, calling on parliament to show “unity and resolve” so the government “stands a chance of securing a new deal” with the EU.

On Wednesday night, protesters politely vented their distaste at the move that gives MPs less time to mount a fight against Brexit.

Some stood in roads blocking traffic until around midnight when police issued a section 14 notice, demanding protesters move on.

Art critic Charles Darwent sat in the road and said: “I’m 61 and I’ve always believed in British democracy. I feel there’s been a coup d’état today and nobody is doing anything about it really.”

Matt Conmee, 21, said: “This is just to make a point really, you can’t prorogue parliament as if – it’s a dictatorship move. We support every single one of the opposition MPs and some of the Tory rebel MPs that are wanting to stay in parliament, stay in session, until they get Brexit resolved. All of parliament needs to decide it. I think that’s what most people are here for, to stop the death of democracy.”

The Met Police said a man and a woman were arrested in Parliament Square on suspicion of failing to comply with the notice, instructing them to move off the road.

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