Thousands have taken to the streets of the UK to protest against Boris Johnson’s controversial suspension of Parliament.
Chants of ‘shame on you’ can be heard echoing through Downing Street on Saturday afternoon as areas around Westminster have been brought to a standstill.
A big crowd of demonstrators have also occupied Trafalgar Square, with some sitting in the middle of the road, while Westminster Bridge has been blocked off with many shouting: ‘If you shut down our Parliament, we shut down your bridge.’
Around 32 #StopTheCoup planned protests, organised by anti-Brexit campaign group Another Europe Is Possible, kicked off just after midday today – and more are expected in the coming days.
Protesters have occupied streets of around 11 cities up and down the UK, which were triggered by the PM’s decision to suspend Parliament for up to five weeks ahead of the October 31 Brexit deadline.
Anti-no-deal MPs have argued the suspension of Parliament, until October 14, is an attempt to shorten the amount of time they have to stop the UK leaving the EU without a deal.
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn was proudly among protesters in Glasgow telling large-scale crowds that the PM is trying to ‘hijack the needs, aims and aspirations’ of UK citizens, adding ‘we’re not having it’.
Speaking in the city’s George Square, he said: ‘I’m proud to be here with all of you supporting that, to say to Boris Johnson no way, it’s our Parliament.
‘No way do you take us out without a deal – we will stop you and give the people their rights and their say to determine their future.’
He said he is backing the protests all over the country, adding: ‘Demonstrations are taking place everywhere because people are angered and outraged about what is happening.
‘Angered that the Government and a Prime Minister elected by 93,000 members of the Tory party is trying to hijack the needs, aims and aspirations of 65 million people.
‘Well think on Boris, it’s not on and we’re not having it.’
Alena Ivanova, from Another Europe Is Possible, said the daily protests must ‘grow into the millions’ in ‘the centre of every town in the country’.
She added: ‘Today’s protests are the beginning of something huge – they have been inspiring, full of youth and diversity and energy.’
Left-wing campaign group Momentum has called on its members to ‘occupy bridges and blockade roads’ in conjunction with unrest on the streets.
Protesters also gathered outside Oxford University’s Balliol College, which was attended by Mr Johnson, to condemn his handling of Brexit.
Lesley McKie, who was at the college with her family, criticised the ‘undemocratic actions of Boris Johnson and (senior adviser) Dominic Cummings’.
Denouncing the Prime Minister outside the institution where he established his ‘political profile’ sends ‘a powerful message to Johnson and others leading this coup’, she added.
Meanwhile, Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott has also addressed London protesters from a stage near Downing Street.
She told the crowds: ‘We cannot allow Boris Johnson to shut down Parliament and to shut down the voice of ordinary British people.’
Chris McHugh, 33, who works for Labour MP Liz Twist and was demonstrating in Newcastle, said the protest is about ‘protecting democracy’.
He added: ‘The fact that thousands have taken to the streets of Newcastle today is so telling.’
Protests are being held in cities including York, Manchester, Newcastle, Bristol, Glasgow, Birmingham, Liverpool, Swansea, Leeds, Belfast and Aberdeen.
Many are also occupying towns such as Bodmin in Cornwall and Clitheroe in Lancashire.