Furious or hopeful, hundreds or even a few thousand Europhiles demonstrated Saturday in London in favor of the return of the United Kingdom to the European Union.
Protesters converged on Parliament Square, where a giant screen proclaimed, "We want our star back." European flags and member countries arrived in the square, where Beethoven's Piped Ode to Joy was played, amid signs reading "Tories (ruling Conservatives) out, let's join the EU", or "Freedom of movement", and stickers reading "Brexit".
In London today... with thousands and thousands to call for the return of the UK into the EU after the Brexit disaster !
🇬🇧 🇪🇺 pic.twitter.com/jJEQnOJNmm
— Guy Verhofstadt (@guyverhofstadt) September 23, 2023
"Absolutely furious", Rachel Ashley, head of a local association for the reintegration of the EU, blames the "media controlled by the same interests that brought us Brexit", which "make money by selling" what she calls the "pornography of indignation".
"Why do that?"
With huge star-shaped glasses on her forehead, she says she knows people who voted for Brexit in 2016 and are now "truly mortified", "they are so ashamed", "they realise what they have done" and have been taken "for fools".
Currently, no major party is proposing the return of the UK to the EU. But Ashley remains hopeful that once one politician begins to "falter," everyone will.
AFP/Justin Tallis AFP or licensors
"I'm European, and taking this from me is cruel, just like taking it from my children and grandchildren," said Frances Smith, a 68-year-old pensioner, wearing a beret with the EU flag on her head. "Maybe they would like to fall in love in France or live in Italy", "I don't understand why we leave the biggest market to join another stupid market for miles and miles, damaging the planet", "Why do that? Why do Australia send us its beef and destroy our farms? »
"We want to come back to Europe, we are Europeans," says Elizabeth Facer, a 64-year-old former French teacher. "We're not this small, isolated island," she explains, "it's very, very sad for our young people."
Brexit is a failure, according to a majority of Britons
"Little by little people are realising how terrible Brexit is for everyone" in the UK, and not just among lifelong Europhiles, she argues.
According to a YouGov poll in August, more than 60% of Britons believe that Brexit is a failure, but remain cautious: 59% are against holding a referendum this year, but 46% are in favour of organizing it in 10 years.
A 19-year-old student, Elowenn Tuhill was 12 years old at the time of the referendum. Young people would like to have "their say", as would many people who think they feel cheated and "would like another vote knowing what they know today", she says, "optimistic" that a new vote can be organised.