‘Stop the coup’ protesters shut down central London bridge

Protesters have shut down a central London bridge as thousands of people in cities across the UK have taken part in rallies against Boris Johnson’s plans to suspend parliament.

A number of activists blocked Waterloo Bridge, shouting “stop the coup” and “our democracy and parliament is under attack”.

Demonstrators outside Downing Street shouted “shame on you” in chants aimed towards the prime minister as streets around government buildings in Westminster were brought to a standstill.

There have also been protests in Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool, Glasgow, Swansea, Leeds, York, Belfast, Bristol and Aberdeen as well as in towns including Bodmin in Cornwall and Clitheroe in Lancashire.

Bristol protest
Image: This was the scene in Bristol

Shadow home secretary Diane Abbott told crowds in Westminster: “We cannot allow Boris Johnson to shut down parliament and to shut down the voice of ordinary British people.”

Anti-PM protest
Image: Activists said they were ‘defending democracy’

Speaking in Glasgow, her boss, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, said next week was the “last chance” to stop a no-deal Brexit.

He said: “Yes, it is the chance and we will do absolutely everything we can to prevent a no-deal Brexit and the prime minister taking us into the hands of Donald Trump and a trade deal with the USA.

More from Boris Johnson

“That is the real agenda of the prime minister. There is a lot of work being done in preparation for next Tuesday.”

Jeremy Corbyn in Glasgow
Image: Jeremy Corbyn addresses crowds in Glasgow

Left-wing campaign group Momentum, which supports Mr Corbyn, has called on its members to “occupy bridges and blockade roads” in conjunction with unrest on the streets.

Mr Johnson is facing in the coming days attempts by his parliamentary opponents to legislate against a no-deal exit from the EU, or to hold a vote of confidence in his government.

But he has insisted his rivals could be making the prospect of a withdrawal from the bloc without an agreement more likely.

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The protests were triggered by the PM’s decision to suspend – or prorogue – parliament for up to five weeks ahead of the 31 October Brexit deadline.

Parliament will be prorogued in the week beginning 9 September until 14 October – the day of the Queen’s Speech.

Mr Johnson’s opponents have claimed the move was aimed at reducing Commons debating time to restrict MPs’ ability to block a no-deal Brexit.

Johnson says he isn't proving Corbyn right
Johnson says he isn’t proving Corbyn right

Asked if he was denying opposition MPs the time to stop a no-deal withdrawal from the European Union, the prime minister earlier this week said: “No, that is completely untrue.

“We are bringing forward a new legislative programme on crime, hospitals, making sure we have the education funding we need.”

He added there would be “ample time” for MPs to debate Brexit both before and after a “crucial” Brussels summit of EU leaders on 17 October.

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