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Dutch Facebook user invites people to watch Brexit unfold from beach

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Dutch Facebook user invites people to watch Brexit unfold from beach
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Thousands of people say they will join a man sitting on a beach in the Netherlands to watch Brexit unfold across the sea.

Ron Toekook told Euronews he created the Facebook event on October 31 to commemorate "a dear friend leaving Europe".

The event is scheduled to take place on October 31, the deadline for the UK to leave the European Union (EU), on Strand Wijk Aan Zee, a beach on the country's west coast.

"I felt that on October 31 a dear friend was leaving Europe [that] we built together," Toekook said of his motivation to create the event.

"I needed to create a moment were I and others could say goodbye to everything the UK has meant for us these past decades. Where I live we see the sun set in the sea and the UK is just beyond the horizon."

In the blurb for the Facebook event, Toekook invites guests to join him in "in a beach chair watching Great Britain when it wakes up as a closed institution" with "Dutch chips, French wine and German beer".

Asked if Britons would be welcome he said: "We can give them a cuddle and tell them they're always welcome!"

Nearly 50,000 people had expressed interest in the event and over 7,000 said they were going at the time of publication, at the time of writing.

"I didn't expect the event to be even remotely as popular," he later told Euronews. "I'm glad social media can also deliver positive messages and connect people to events that mean something to them."

Members of the group posted pictures of the beach where the event is set to take place along with an image of the traditional English dish of fish and chips.

Some Facebook users that had signed up for the event expressed their excitement: "Looks like a lot of fun to me," wrote Sabien Reichow.

Others suggested songs in response to Toekook's call for contributions, which included "Somebody that I used to know" by Gotye, "Sunday bloody Sunday" by U2, "England lost" by Mick Jagger and "Every time we say goodbye" by Ella Fitzgerald.

The UK is set to leave the EU on the October 31 deadline after new British Prime Minister Boris Johnson vowed this will happen with or without a deal.

Johnson launched an attempt to reopen Brexit negotiations on Monday night, writing to European Council President Donald Tusk seeking the removal of the Irish backstop from the existing deal.

Read more: Johnson letter offers no 'realistic alternatives' to backstop, says Tusk

Tusk, along with the EU executive, on Tuesday, rebuffed the attempt, saying the letter from Johnson included no "realistic alternatives" to the backstop.

"The backstop is insurance to avoid a hard border on the island of Ireland unless and until an alternative is found," Tusk said in a tweet.

"Those against the backstop and not proposing realistic alternatives in fact support re-establishing a border. Even if they do not admit it."

Read more:

What is the Irish backstop and why does Boris Johnson want it ditched?

Northern Ireland conflict 50 years on: will a no-deal Brexit threaten the peace?

Brexit Guide: where are we now?

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