Thousands of Brexit supporters waving the Union Jack, and others even dressed as the twelfth-century English King Richard the Lionheart, gathered in London’s Parliament Square Friday night for a massive celebration of the United Kingdom’s official exit from the European Union.
Meanwhile, police in Norwich, England, investigated “racist” flyers telling residents in order to have a “Happy Brexit Day,” they should “speak English” or go back to their home country so the local government could let British people live in their public housing apartments. And anti-Brexiteers in Scotland, which voted to remain in the EU in 2016, held solemn vigils instead of the more rowdy celebrations in London.
Following the historic departure, Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party, will travel to Washington Sunday in order to attend President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday. In a London speech, he shot down speculation he’d be joining Trump on his 2020 campaign trail – telling the crowd he’ll spend most of next year in the UK to ensure Prime Minister Boris Johnson delivers on Brexit policy proposals.
“The war is over,” Farage said in his speech. “This is the single most important moment in the modern history of our great nation…We have to make sure that we watch every step of this journey over the next 11 months and more and we will do that.”
Three and half years after the British public voted to leave the EU, Brexit was finally set into motion Friday night. The historic referendum vote was held months before Trump defeated Hillary Clinton in the 2016 U.S. presidential election. Now an 11-month transition period will allow the UK to negotiate new deals on trade and security while following the bloc’s rules.
“We’re open for business from the rest of the world. We want unity, peace and stability,” Caroline Jones, of the Welsh Brexit Party, told the BBC. “That’s what we didn’t have because we were in limbo for three and a half years, so as well as it being exciting, it’s also a relief.”
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