LONDON — On Brexit night, Britain looked like it has for more than three years: split into two very different worlds.
Brexiteers popped corks and cheered the 11 p.m. Brexit prize at parties around the nation, while pro-EU campaigners held vigils and worried about what the future might bring.
EU nationals concerned about their status in the U.K. wrapped themselves in a queue around the City Hall building in London Bridge — the office of London Mayor Sadiq Khan. Belgian buns and waffles were served as they flocked to seek legal advice and emotional support.
Piotr Turlik, 77, brought his French wife, who has been struggling with her settled status application. He came to the U.K. from Poland aged six during World War II, and is now a British national.
EU nationals and campaigners wait to hear from London Mayor Sadiq Khan at City Hall on Brexit night pic.twitter.com/Cy7aLxSLUM
— Emilio Casalicchio (@e_casalicchio) January 31, 2020
“One is rather shocked at this country declaring its freedom day when I know what real freedom — or lack of freedom — was in Poland in the ’70s when I visited my family,” he said. “It seems totally cynical to say today is a day of freedom when in actual fact it’s a day of enormous uncertainty.”