Europe

Thousands spontaneously rally to #StopTheCoup after UK parliament suspended

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Following the suspension of UK parliament, protesters are taking to the streets to demand an end to what they are calling a "coup".

Just hours after UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced he would be suspending parliament for five weeks in the lead up to the Brexit deadline, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets to demand an end to what they are calling a coup.

On Wednesday evening, Mr Johnson sparked fury when he announced that parliament would be shut down from roughly 10 September and not reopened until 14 October - just two weeks before the UK is set to leave the European Union - leaving MPs just a couple of weeks to prevent a no-deal Brexit.

A woman is seen with a flare outside the houses of parliament where hundreds of people are seen protesting against Boris Johnson.
A woman is seen with a flare outside the houses of parliament where hundreds of people are seen protesting against Boris Johnson.

The large crowd first gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in London, before moving on to stand outside the prime minister's residence at Number 10 Downing Street, while the hashtag #StopTheCoup trended internationally on Twitter.

There were also protests planned in Edinburgh, Manchester and Cardiff in opposition to the suspension.

Speaking at the London protest, Guardian columnist Owen Jones labelled Mr Johnson an "unelected, tin pot, would-be dictator". 

"Our democracy was not given to us as an act of generosity and charity by the powerful," he told the crowd.

"It was won through the struggle, the determination, the blood of our ancestors and we will not let our democracy, that so many people died fighting for, be usurped by an unelected, tin pot, would-be dictator."

Another protester, former BBC journalist Paul Mason, urged people to join him on the streets.

"Johnson came to power through a coup within the Tory party, 140,000 people - white, aged, male, racist mainly - voted for him ... to become prime minister you have to win votes in parliament. You don't have a legislative programme unless parliament votes for it," he said.

"He's now suspending parliament in order to stop parliament voting on Brexit and worse than that, his own people ... briefed the press this morning that if we should win a vote in parliament against this no deal, he'll ignore it anyway.

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Watch: Demonstrators rally outside parliament after Boris Johnson suspends parliament.
Watch: Demonstrators rally outside parliament after Boris Johnson suspends parliament.

"That is as close to a third-world style coup that we are ever going to come in Britain."

As of 10.30pm local time, protesters were still occupying Parliament Square in London, chanting "stop the coup" and "no one voted for Boris".

Actor Hugh Grant was one of many people expressing their dismay at the shutdown, taking to the Twitter to offer a scolding message to the new prime minister.

"You will not f**k with my children’s future. You will not destroy the freedoms my grandfather fought two world wars to defend," he said, above a video of Mr Johnson. 

"F**k off you over-promoted rubber bath toy. Britain is revolted by you and your little gang of masturbatory prefects."

Police attempt to clear protesters outside the houses of parliament in London.
Police attempt to clear protesters outside the houses of parliament in London.
AAP

A petition posted on the UK Parliament website demanding that parliament not be dissolved until the "Article 50 period has been sufficiently extended or the UK's intention to withdraw from the EU has been cancelled" hit one million signatures on Thursday morning.

According to the website, the government is forced to respond to a petition when it receives more than 10,000 signatures.

The decision to suspend parliament required the permission of the Queen.

Mr Johnson has repeatedly insisted that the UK must leave the EU by the October 31 deadline, which has already been delayed twice, with or without a formal divorce deal.

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