A protest against Brexit, organised by Sally Sadik, a second year University of York English and Related Literature student, saw hundreds of people march through the city centre of York.
‘York Says No To Brexit’ gathered support through the sharing of a Facebook event started by Sadik which had the support of over 1,500 people.
Sadik told Nouse: “I think it was amazing, the atmosphere was full of so much love and positivity.”
The march began at St Helen’s Square at 1pm on Saturday 2 July, and the group proceeded to demonstrate through Davygate, to Parliament Street, onto High Ousegate, Spurrier Gate, along Coney Street and returned to St Helen’s Square.
People of all ages came out in the rain and brought EU flags, wore EU t-shirts and held placards bearing statements such as “Yorkshire says stay with Scotland”, “don’t rob the young of their future” and “never gonna give EU up, never gonna let EU down, never gonna run around and desert EU”.
Speeches were heard from Sadik herself, James Haikney, a fellow University of York student involved in organising the protest and James Blanchard, Liberal Democrat parliamentary candidate in the 2015 general election for the York Outer constituency. There were also speeches from other members of the public who had signed up to a Google document saying that they wished to speak at the rally.
In addition, Rachael Maskell, MP for York Central and shadow Defence Minister, spoke at the event despite tweeting the day before saying: “1 week from the referendum. The economy’s so weakened & the government has no plans in place. It must act on its mandate to leave.”
Maskell spoke against the leave campaign at the protest saying: “many untruths were unleashed, but worst of all were the politics of hate that emerged.”
Despite police presence the protest continued peacefully with only some passers by shouting opposing views at the protesters such as “take it on the chin” and “I’m glad York is leaving the EU”.
On the same day a demonstration took place in London called “March for Europe”. The aim of the march was to prevent the government from triggering Article 50, according to one of the organisers Keiran MacDermott, which would begin the formal process of the UK withdrawing from the EU. Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron spoke at the event, along with activist Owen Jones, musician Bob Geldof and David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham.
In York 58 per cent of those who voted in the EU referendum last Thursday chose to remain, and 42 per cent voted to leave.