In London, thousands of protesters marched against an "abuse of democracy"


Londoners demonstrated on Saturday against the suspension of the British Parliament by Boris Johnson, with the feeling of living a crucial moment for the future of their country.

By Cécile Ducourtieux Posted today at 18h33, updated at 20h36

Time to Reading 3 min.

Police in action Saturday in London. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N
Police in action Saturday in London. / AFP / Niklas HALLE'N NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP

"This time, it's different, it's our democracy that is at stake." Why did they take to the streets in the thousands, and did they converge once more in front of Downing Street, this Saturday, August 31 at noon? Many London protesters say the same thing: beyond Brexit and the fear of no dealit is Boris Johnson's decision to suspend the British Parliament for five long weeks, at a crucial time in the country's history, which is really not happening.

Helen Swaffield carries a sign with a simple slogan "I love Parliament" red felt. The lady, about fifty, is a lawyer by profession. "I'm a stranger (supporter of keeping the United Kingdom in the European Union), but I respect the vote of the referendum of 2016. By cons, I do not respect the prorogation (the decision to suspend Westminster). It is a desperate act of our Prime Minister, he has made false statements to cover his real intentions. "

The Londoner believes that Boris Johnson "Acts as an elected dictator. What he decided last week is unprecedented. I am committed to peaceful protests, but if it really does not work, then, yes, maybe it will be necessary to block bridges and roads. " The Momentum movement, close to Labor leader Jeremy Corbyn, called the British the day before "Civic disobedience". On Saturday, a few dozen of its activists briefly blocked the London Bridge. The police, discreet, let it go. Others did a sit-in at Trafalgar Square. At the end of the afternoon, however, the police confirmed three arrests.

"Democracy is at stake"

Aleks, 56, without a sign or sticker on his orange T-shirt, interrupts us nicely, pointing to Hellen's sign: "You see, it was made of cardboard packaging. We are ordinary people. Not activists. Aleks is also remainerbut "This is the first time I have manifested" he assured us. "Nobody voted for Boris Johnson, but democracy is at stake, and what he did is an abuse of democracy."

A platform was mounted a little further down Whitehall, the street leading directly to Westminster, crowded with people. Laura Parker, one of Momentum's coordinators, invites them "Ordinary citizens", remainers, brexiters, screaming their anger at the microphone.

In the crowd, too far to hear, Amy, 31, brandished a "Just No" on her sign. She came with her boyfriend and boy. The young woman does not think that "The deputies are doing their job well, but they must be able to make their voices heard". She will try to come back to protest next week. A new demonstration is planned, in front of Westminster, on September 3rd, for the return to parliament, after the summer break. Members may not be able to sit for more than a very short week.

Read also "Lost in Brexit": after the suspension of Parliament, the options summarized in diagram

"A crucial moment in our history"

Clare, in her thirties, too "Will return to the street next week, even if it is useless" adds the girl. Tom in his twenties "No one voted for Boris (no one voted for Boris)! " with his girlfriend and the rest of the crowd. "This is the first time I participate in these events. I am OK for the UK to leave the European Union, but here, what is happening is different, we are at a crucial moment in our history ".

Maggie and her husband Nick are from Essex, north-east London. Those are remainers convinced, they too march for their parliamentary democracy. "I had to demonstrate so I could look at my children in the eye," said Maggie. Nick, a French teacher, is counting on John Bercow, the Speaker of the House of Commons, to help members make their voices heard in the short time they have left before October 31, and despite the suspension decided by Downing Street. "I believe he can. " Mr. Bercow dealt with"Constitutional contempt" the suspension of Parliament decided by Mr Johnson.

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