Protesters filled London’s streets and packed Parliament Square on Saturday to demand a second referendum vote on Brexit. The original deadline for Britain to leave the European Union was March 29, but Prime Minister Theresa May secured a little more time from EU leaders to find a deal that both parties agree on.
May has until the end of next week to get a deal through Britain’s Parliament. If she is able to get a deal approved by Parliament in that time, the U.K. will have until May 22 to fully exit the EU. But if Parliament doesn’t approve a deal by the end of next week, the deadline is April 12. At that time the U.K. would have to create a new plan or leave the EU with a “no-deal” Brexit.
A “no-deal” Brexit would result in the U.K. crashing out of the EU, which is “effectively the world’s second-largest economy,” as NPR’s Frank Langfitt reports.
Concern over a “no-deal” Brexit had loomed over the U.K. leading up to the extension, as Parliament had twice rejected the prime minister’s proposals in stunning defeats; the latest was 242 votes for, 391 votes against.
Organizers estimated that 1 million people turned out for the Put It to the People March, but that has not been confirmed independently. A BBC correspondent called it a “very significant march, well into the hundreds of thousands.”
Among those who spoke at the march were London Mayor Sadiq Khan, deputy Labour leader Tom Watson and Scotland’s First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.
While addressing the crowds at Parliament Square, The Guardian reported, Sturgeon said a longer extension will need to be secured in order to allow time for a second referendum to be held.
“The prime minister and her government have proved completely incapable of delivering on the result of the 2016 vote, which is why it is right that this should now go back to the people,” Sturgeon said on stage, according to the paper. Read more