LONDON (Reuters) – Singing patriotic songs and waving Union Jack flags, thousands of Britons flocked to a muddy patch of grass outside parliament on a damp Friday night to watch their moment of history: Britain’s departure from the European Union.
Britain’s 2300 GMT exit from the EU ends 47 years of union with Europe. It also draws a line under a bitter and divisive four-year wrangle over whether, when and how the country should cut its ties to the bloc.
While Prime Minister Boris Johnson, synonymous with Brexit because of his role in the 2016 ‘Leave’ campaign, kept a low profile at a private reception in his office, more than 5,000 people gathered just down the road to loudly celebrate the moment.
“This is a fantastic day, A really really fantastic day. It’s been a long time coming,” said Tony Williams, 53, from south-east London.
“We are free, from 11 o’clock, we have done it, and it is a great, great pleasure. We have done it.”
Brexit supporters young and old packed into Parliament Square to hear Brexit’s other talisman, campaigner Nigel Farage, and revel in a mix of nostalgia, patriotism and defiance.
“I never thought it would happen – my goodness! I’m not going to get drunk or anything but it’s a r