“It was with horror that I woke up to Brexit on Friday morning when I saw the EU referendum results.”
On 28 June, hundreds of people descended onto London’s iconic Trafalgar Square to protest against a United Kingdom vote to leave the European Union. Despite the rain and cancellation of the protest amid safety concerns, huge crowds showed up for the pro- EU demonstration, originally entitled “London Stays” and later renamed “Stand Together”.
The event aimed to send a clear message that a large portion of the country still stands alongside the EU, expressing unity, solidarity and respect towards Europe and EU citizens, particularly those living in London. The event had to be called off after more than 55,000 people expressed interest in attending, exceeding the official safe capacity of the square. Despite being cancelled, many showed up to express their disappointment with the referendum result, with young people – some still wearing their school uniforms – featuring prominently in the anti-Brexit crowd.
It’s with anger and disappointment that protesters from different nationalities and background came together to sing “EU, we love you” as they marched towards the House of Parliament, interrupting Channel 4’s live news broadcast.
One young protester at the Trafalgar Square rally told the IPF: “It was with horror that I woke up on Friday morning when I saw the EU referendum results.”
Her view was shared by many other young people in the country. The breakdown of the referendum vote by age group revealed that 75% of 18 to 24-year-olds voted to Remain, indicating a clear pro-EU stance among the younger generations. However, this proved to be insufficient since only 36% of people aged 24 or below voted in the EU referendum.
What does the vote to leave the EU mean for young Europeans in the UK? How has it impacted them? What are their biggest fears since the Brexit vote? The IPF went to the London Stays demonstration to speak directly to young people about one of the biggest political decisions of our lifetime.