On 25 March, more than 25,000 people demonstrated in central London as part of a pro-EU rally, demanding that the UK remains in the 28-member bloc. Estimates suggest up to 100,000 people attended the rally, which began in Hyde Park and moved through central London. A smaller, satellite protest was held in Edinburgh that attracted around 1,000 protesters. The action came four days before Prime Minister Theresa May triggered Article 50 on 29 March. While the action was peaceful, it did cause major movement disruption and illustrates the opposition to Brexit that is likely to continue in the months ahead.
Although there are multiple protest actions concerning arms sales, human rights, animal rights and fracking, two large rallies scheduled for April seek to highlight what protest groups believe will be the negative effects of Brexit. On 22 April, campaigners are holding a “March for Science” in London to demonstrate the negative impact departing the EU will have on the UK’s science industry and future development, as well as encouraging continued investment to combat climate change. Moreover, on 29 April, protesters are rallying in central London to hold “Climate Disaster: Rise Up”. The protest aims to denounce the impact of Brexit, the Conservative government and the US administration under Donald Trump on the climate, claiming all three elements will cause future climate damage. Further mass rallies to oppose the UK’s departure from the EU are highly likely in the coming weeks and months. The risk of disruptive, and potentially violent, protests also escalates if the departure is seen to be damaging the UK economy and prospects, while protests will also escalate as the two-year negotiating period comes to a close.
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