British protest against Boris Johnson's 'coup d'etat'


Several thousand people demonstrated Saturday in the United Kingdom to denounce the "coup" of Prime Minister Boris Johnson, after his decision to suspend Parliament in the home stretch before Brexit.

Demonstrations took place in about 30 cities, including London, Manchester (north-west England), Edinburgh (Scotland), Swansea (Wales) and Belfast (Northern Ireland), under the slogan "Stop the coup".

The organizers mentioned the participation of "hundreds of thousands" of people. The police did not provide a number.

The biggest gathering took place in the British capital, in front of the Prime Minister's residence at 10 Downing Street, where a compact crowd chanted "Boris Johnson, shame on you!" while sporting European flags. The signs displayed slogans like "Democrats do not gag democracy", or "Wake up, United Kingdom! Or welcome to 1933 Germany".

"What happens to Brexit must not depend on a decision by Boris Johnson, it has deprived Parliament of the power of decision, which is not democratic," said Bernard Hurley, an anti-Brexit of years, to AFP.

"I am totally disgusted by what is happening here," said Maya Dunn, 66, a Dutch resident in the UK. For her, Boris Johnson is "a liar who totally cheats people".

After the end of the demonstration, small groups of protesters moved to different locations in central London, the police told AFP, citing "minor" incidents.

In Newcastle (North England), Chris McHugh, 33, felt "a real sense of unity". "Whether you voted to leave or stay (in the EU), it's about protecting the very essence of our democracy," he said.

– A "just" decision –

Conservative Boris Johnson announced Wednesday the suspension of Parliament in the second week of September and until October 14, shortly before the Brexit on October 31, causing a wave of indignation.

The Prime Minister has the right to do this, and he does it traditionally during the convention season of political parties in September. But this is the moment chosen and the duration of the suspension (five weeks) that are disputed by the opponents of a hard Brexit.

They see it as a maneuver to prevent MEPs from blocking a Brexit without an agreement, which the leader wants to implement if no compromise is found with the EU on the terms of the British exit. He defended himself, saying he wanted to prepare during this time his national policy program, after his arrival in late July.

For Finance Minister Sajid Javid, asked about the BBC, it is a "fair" decision allowing the executive to focus "on people's priorities." He will present his budget priorities on Wednesday.

– Political and Judicial Battle –

The anti-Brexit organization "Another Europe is Possible", at the origin of the demonstrations Saturday, called to protest "every day at 17:30 (16H30 GMT) in all cities of the country" from Monday.

But the battle against Parliament's suspension will also take place on the judicial and political fronts.

Parliament is back on Tuesday for a session announcing the most stormy. MEPs will try to legislate to prevent a "no deal" and a motion of censure is considered against the government, the majority of which in the House of Commons holds only one vote.

"We will do everything we can to prevent a Brexit without agreement," Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, visiting Glasgow, Scotland, said on Saturday.

Boris Johnson warned Friday against any attempt to block Brexit, saying it would hurt negotiations with Brussels. These will accelerate in September to try to resolve the issue of the Irish border after Brexit, the main point of contention.

On Tuesday, the highest civilian court in Scotland will consider the merits of a request from pro-European MPs to counter the suspension, after refusing to do so in the emergency on Friday.

Former Conservative Prime Minister John Major joined him in another lawsuit filed by anti-Brexit activist Gina Miller. The hearing is scheduled for September 5 in London.

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