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UK: Tens of thousands of anti-Brexit protesters call for new vote

Pro-EU demonstrators in London demand a second public vote on Britain's EU membership, two years after referendum.

anti-Brexit protesters

Tens of thousands of people have rallied in central London in one of the biggest anti-Brexit demonstrations, exactly two years after the UK voted to leave the European Union in a referendum that has divided the British nation.

The pro-EU demonstrators in the British capital called on Saturday for a new vote to have the final say on the country's membership in the 28-member bloc. 

The rally on the second anniversary of Brexit - Britain's exit from the EU - was organised by People's Vote, a coalition of groups campaigning for the UK to stay in the bloc. 

The organisers said more than 100,000 people attended the rally in London, which voted overwhelmingly in favour of remaining within the EU in 2016.

"Whatever your opinion on Brexit, no one would disagree that it's a big deal. And not a done deal," the organisers said in a statement, demanding a public vote on the final negotiations. 

The protesters held EU flags and banners with anti-Brexit slogans as they marched towards the UK parliament. 

On June 23, 2016, 52 percent of Britons voted in favour of leaving the EU after more than four decades of membership, but the talks have been slow moving.

Britain and the EU reached a preliminary agreement on the terms of the Brexit divorce in December. 

The UK's government is legally bound to pay an estimated 40bn pounds ($53bn) divorce bill to the EU until 2064. 

"Since the referendum vote in 2016, a lot has happened; people feel angry," said James McGrory, executive director of Open Britain, a pro-EU campaign group.

"They feel that the government is making a mess of the negotiations; they feel that new facts have emerged since the referendum that we weren't told about and they feel that promises made during the campaign simply aren't going  to be kept," he said. 

"And what people are stating is that that this too big an issue to leave to politicians alone - this is going to decide the future of this country."

Since the referendum, Theresa May, who became prime minister in the resulting political chaos, has struggled to unite the country behind a single vision of Brexit.

Polls show voters' disparate views on leaving are entrenched, and few have any certainty about Britain's long-term future.

Britain is scheduled to leave the EU at 23:00 GMT on March 29, 2019. 

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