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KU students join in Brexit celebrations at Parliament Square

By Steph Spyropoulou Feb 1, 2020
Photo by NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock (10545189f) Pro Brexit supporters celebrate after the UK left the EU, outside the Houses of Parliament in London, Britain, 31 January 2020. Britain officially exited the EU on 31 January 2020, beginning an eleven month transition period. Britain leaves the EU, London, United Kingdom - 01 Feb 2020

Students joined thousands of Brexit supporters who descended onto Parliament Square yesterday to mark the United Kingdom’s departure from the European Union.

After nearly four years since Britons voted “out” in the 2016 EU referendum and almost one year since the initial leave date of March 29 2019, the UK left the economic and political union at 11pm on Friday, January 31.

But not all KU students were overjoyed with how the night turned out.

Third-year media and communication student Susie Roberts, 21, who is a Remainer, went to the celebrations for the historic event for a university project but said she felt “threatened”.

“I was pretty upset about the referendum result, I cried, and I feel the same tonight, to be honest. It’s horrifying, I’ll say it quietly so that I don’t get attacked. I’m not a Brexiteer, and I feel very threatened being here.”

Her comments came after a man and told her to “f*** off” for being a “lefty” when she tried to ask him a question for her Brexit-based project.

When asked about what she felt the drawbacks of the UK withdrawing from the EU were, she said: “We’re such a small little country that when we’re completely on our own. There’s nothing to back us up, and I don’t think we realise how small we are.”

But while Remainers like Roberts worry about the end of free movement and the future of the UK economy, young Brexiteers are adamant the benefits outweigh any risks.

KU student Susie Roberts looking on at the Brexit celebrations in dismay. Photo: Isabella Ruffatti

Reuben Andrews, a 24-year-old student from Reading, said: “There’s a lot more opportunity after Brexit. I think younger people should wake up and see more opportunities.”

His friend Georgina, 27, said she was proud of her country for leaving the EU and “doing something independently.

“It’s doing some good and re-writing history.”

The night’s celebrations were a reasonably quiet affair around the country with no fireworks and no bongs from nearby Big Ben.

Photo by NEIL HALL/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock
Nigel Farage of the Brexit Party speaks to pro Brexit supporters celebrate outside the Houses of Parliament in London.

But Parliament Square, where Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage joined the crowds from all parts of the country in counting down to the historic moment, was far from quiet.

Brexiteers young and old waved their Union Jack’s while others climbed onto statues and even traffic lights in a scene that resembled the aftermath of a football match.

Photo by James Veysey/Shutterstock
A projection at No.10 Downing Street marks the moment Britain left the European Union.

Downing Street reflected the image of Big Ben in the form of a light show accompanied by the sound of bongs.

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivered a special address to the nation.

He emphasised “unleashing the enormous potential of British people” and urged people to “come together and move forward united”.

Today the Union Jack was removed from the outside of the European parliament building in Brussels where all the flags of the EU member states are displayed.

It was replaced by the EU flag after Britain became the first country to leave the EU after 47 years as a member.

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