Protesters take to the streets after Johnson suspends parliament

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By Orlando Crowcroft  with Reuters
An anti-Brexit protestor holds placard, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain August 28, 2019.
An anti-Brexit protestor holds placard, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain August 28, 2019.   -   Copyright  REUTERS/Henry Nicholls

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the UK capital on Wednesday after Prime Minister Boris Johnson decided to suspend parliament for more than a month in the run up to the Brexit deadline on October 31.

Shouting "Shame on You" and "Stop the Coup", around two hundred people - including opposition figures and media personalities - gathered on the Banks of the River Thames, close to the British parliament and 10 Downing Street, the home of the British leader.

It follows Johnson's decision to call a Queen's speech for October 14, meaning that parliament will be suspended from around September 12.

MPs are currently on their summer recess and not due to return until September 3, leaving little time for opposition figures to fight against Johnson's plan to take the UK out of the European Union with or without a deal on October 31.

Read more: Boris Johnson suspends parliament: Can Brexit still be stopped?

One protester, Dylan Butlin, 17, told Reuters: “Democracy is so important. It’s taught from such a young age as such a vital thing about being a British person and today just completely ruins that, tramples it and throws it out."

Opposition figures in attendance included Labour's Diane Abbot, Shadow Home Secretary, who tweeted from outside parliament. Another Labour figure, David Lammy, tweeted: "If parliament is silenced on the biggest issue of our time we must take to the streets."

Speaking yesterday, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said that Johnson's move to prorogue parliament was "a constitutional outrage". It came just days after he led meetings of opposition figures to discuss how to prevent Johnson taking the UK out of the EU without a deal.

Read more: Jeremy Corbyn: Britain's prime minister in waiting?

Johnson, meanwhile, has argued that calling a Queen's speech has nothing to do with Brexit, and is an opportunity for him - as a new prime minister - to outline his legislative agenda for the year ahead. He has said that there will be plenty of time to debate Brexit.

It has also been noted that it is common for parliament to be suspended during the party conference season, which begins in the second week of September.

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