Over 1500 people have registered their interest or intent to attend a Brexit protest march organised by a student at the University of York.
The event, titled ‘York Says No To Brexit’ and led by second year English and Related Literature student Sally Sadik, is set to take place on Saturday 2 July, and has 501 confirmed ‘Going’ and over 1100 registered ‘Interested’ on Facebook. The march will gather at St Helens Square at 1pm and continue along Davygate, through Parliament Square, turn onto High Ousegate, and follow down Spurrier Gate and Coney St, finishing back at its starting point.
The group also plan to hold a minute’s silence before the march in memory of Jo Cox, the Labour MP for Batley and Spen who was murdered on 16 June representing her constituency in Birstall, West Yorkshire.
The protest has received a great deal of support from local political figures and businesses, as well as hundreds of ordinary people from across the country.
Labour MP for York Centre and recently promoted shadow Defence Minister Rachael Maskell has voiced her support for the campaign, tweeting that she will attend the event which she deems: “Too important to miss”. Organisers have since announced the 2015 Liberal Democrat candidate for York Outer, James Blanchard, is also confirmed to speak, and they will be seeking to secure a representative from Green Party to make an appearance.
In addition, one local business has announced its plans to close for two hours on Saturday in solidarity with the protest.
The march has received council and police approval and will go ahead with appropriate security measures in place.
In light of a significant amount of criticism and complaints launched against the campaign, predominantly with the feeling that the protest is somehow ‘anti-democratic’, Sadik has clarified that the group endeavours to challenge the consequences of a democratic vote influenced by false promises, specifically what she calls the “misinformation and lies used by the Leave campaign”. Marchers also intend to take a stand against “the anti-immigrant narrative and racist/xenophobic attacks” that have occured in the aftermath of the referendum result.
When asked what the collective hoped to achieve by protesting, Sadik commented: “[We are doing this] because the consequences will be too devastating otherwise. We are doing this because we care about our future, and we care about the futures of those not given a voice yet irrevocably affected by this vote – the hard-working immigrants who give so much to British economy and culture – and the young people who will be hit hardest by the economic impact of leaving the union.”
In response to the criticism the campaign has received, she explained: “Some people have labelled this protest as ‘anti-democratic’, but vote leave was a campaign of misinformation and sometimes outright lies, meaning the public was not suitably informed to make such a monumental decision. This is evidenced by the fact that 1.1 million people regret their choice to leave after one trillion dollars was wiped off the market. The campaign was framed by a racist narrative, using immigrants as scapegoats for failures in the British economy.
“Our right to protest is not only democratic, it is necessary to show the severity of leaving the union.”
Sadik and co-organiser James Haikney will be interviewed live on BBC Radio York tomorrow between 8:00 and 8:05, and featured again on Capital FM on Saturday. ITV have also expressed an interest in covering the protest.
The event comes at a time of significant political turmoil, with the country’s vote to leave the European Union challenged by hoards of young people across the country. Today thousands protested Brexit near the Commons in Westminster, and a march against the Leave vote is set to take place in London on Saturday (simultaneously with the York protest), with 10,000 ‘Going’ and 26,000 registered ‘Interested’ on Facebook.
For those interested in getting involved with ‘York Says No To Brexit’, organisers will be hosting a placard/sign making session at JJs, Halifax College on Wednesday 29 at 7pm.
For further information the event page can be found at: https://www.facebook.com/events/1008019715978064/