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Hundreds of thousands march in London for "referendum" on Brexit



LONDON – On Saturday, hundreds of thousands of protesters marched against Britain's imminent exit from the European Union through central London. They demanded a new referendum and a say in the final Brexit agreement between the government and the EU. Young voters led the referendum march to London's Parliament Square, which attracted around 700,000 demonstrators, according to supporters of the BBC News. The Metropolitan Police said it was unable to estimate the size of the crowd.

The organizers say another public vote is needed as new facts about the cost and complexity of Britain's exit from the bloc have become known since voters left in 201

6.

About 150 buses of demonstrators are streaming across the country from everyone in the British capital. The police did not submit an attendance estimate.

"It's clear that the only options the Prime Minister now has on the table are a poor Brexit deal or no deal," London's Mayor Sadiq Khan told the BBC. "That's a million miles away from what was promised two and a half years ago."

  Protesters taking part in an anti-Brexit demonstration march through the center of London

Protesters participate in an anti-Brexit demonstration march through the London center of Britain October 20, 2018.

HENRY NICHOLLS / REUTERS

Khan said Saturday's protest was a "march for the future" for young Britons, including those who were too young for the 2016 Brexit referendum, as those who favored leaving the EU, just over 52 Percent won.

The march was also supported by a number of MEPs who want a new vote.

The mayor of the opposition Labor Party has previously supported the call for a new referendum so that the public can discuss whether they accept the Brexit Agreement of Prime Minister Theresa May or decide to stay in the EU.

May, the leader of the British Conservatives, has ruled out another public vote on this issue.

That did not stop the masses from demanding one on Saturday. Among them was Andy Serkis, the actor of the "Lord of the Rings," who marched with his son and wife. Serkis said he believes there should be a second referendum, "now that people are better informed."

Britain will leave the EU on 29 March, but the divorce negotiations have been plagued by disagreement, in particular as regards the future border between the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland. After Brexit, this will be Britain's only land border with the EU, as Ireland is part of the EU and Northern Ireland is part of the UK

One of the great achievements of the 1998 peace agreement was the decades-long violence in Northern Ireland's police and military presence on the border with Ireland. Many on both sides do not want a "hard" border anymore.

There are also growing fears of a "no-deal" British exit, which could lead to chaos at the borders, in the EU and in the British economies.

May said at a dubious EU summit in Brussels this week that she would consider extending a 21-month transitional period after Brexit for the UK – one that could hold Britain to EU rules for more than two years in March Departure.

The EU has stated that the extension of this period would give more time for a trade agreement that will keep the Irish border going smoothly. However, pro-Brexit politicians in Britain saw it as an attempt to bind the country indefinitely to the bloc.

"The chaos this week and the confusion over the Brexit negotiations have shown that even the best deal available now will be a bad deal for the UK," said Andrew Adonis, Labor member of the House of Lords. "Voters will neither forgive nor forget when (lawmakers) allow this wretched Brexit to continue without people having the last word."

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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