Umbrella protest gathers locals of all ages in front of town hall
PUBLISHED: 08:16 02 September 2019
A protest took place in front of Saffron Walden Town Hall following the decision to prorogue parliament by Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Mike Hibbs, a former Saffron Walden mayor and chairman of Uttlesford District Council, who stood for parliament for the Liberal Democrats in the Saffron Walden constituency in 2015 and in 2017, was present at the protest, which started on Thursday.
Mr Hibbs said: "There are many people of all political parties very upset by the behaviour of an unelected prime minister who thinks he can ignore the principles of British democracy. I know how important democracy is to the people of this country. "We may not have a written constitution, but we do have a very strong tradition of what is right and what is wrong, and Boris Johnson has overstepped the mark."
He added that what saddens him is how divisive the PM's actions are:
"There is much talk of delivering Brexit, but no recognition that nearly as many people voted against, and their voice should be heard too," he said. "I believe in a tolerant, inclusive Britain in which people can express their views without being silenced - but by proroguing parliament Boris Johnson denies the people of this country a voice".
Alan Dean, Liberal Democrat councillor for Stansted North and leader of the Liberal Democrat group was also at the protest. He said: "The prime minister who claims he represents the people needs to start to listen to people for real. People are not prepared to democracy being suppressed".
88-year-old Hugh Coe, an ex Labour member who resigned because of what he said was Jeremy Corbyn's 'weak opposition' and joined the Lib Dems, said: "I'm here because I have been involved with this group in the hope we can prevent Brexit and went down on the march in March. At 88 it might be my last March."
He added: "I spent all my time apologising to Europeans. I'm old enough to have experienced the Second World War and I'm amazed how successful the European Union was."
British-German citizen Steffi Suhr, 47, is a project manager and Lib Dem member, who has been living in Saffron Walden since 2012.
She said: "We are at a turning point. This is not about Brexit anymore".
She said there is a risk in not allowing parliament to debate, that of pushing through a policy that 'many people don't agree with' and of 'fundamentally damaging the system'.
"The government has not really faced questions, so there is an evasion of scrutiny at a crucial time", Steffi added.
Joanna, 53, from Radwinter, said: "Almost all of the MPs have said in the past year the prorogation of parliament is a bad idea. The leavers won on the slogan 'take back control' and we have ended up with a dictatorship."