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UK protesters join France's 'yellow vest' bandwagon

AFP  |  London 

Rival demonstrations are planned in Britain this weekend as groups from opposite ends of the political spectrum try to emulate the "vest" protest movement that has recently swept

The left-wing "People's Assembly" activist group has invited thousands of people to wear vests at an anti-austerity "Britain is broken" march in central Saturday.

"See you on the streets and don't forget your #YellowVests," the group -- which is demanding a to end the ruling Conservatives' programme of austerity -- wrote on its page.

The event is also hosted by other liberal organisations targeting different causes, including "Stand Up To Racism" which is protesting government policies towards refugees.

Meanwhile right-wing, Brexit-supporting activists have signalled their intent to hold demonstrations in British cities, including the capital, under the banner "#YellowVestUK".

Anti-protesters wearing vests, some emblazoned with Britain's flag, have staged several small protests disrupting traffic in in recent months.

A group sparked a firestorm this week by assailing pro-EU figures in Westminster on Monday, which included chanting "Nazi" at prominent Remain supporting during live TV interviews.

They also then harangued her and political commentators outside parliament, prompting calls for more proactive policing of the activists.

Police have vowed to uphold any public order offences and intervene when appropriate in response to the controversy.

France's "yellow vest" demonstrations began in mid-November over a proposed increase in fuel duties, and soon turned violent.

The leaderless movement appeared to be petering out at the end of 2018 but has since regained momentum, with weekly clashes seen in and other French cities.

Meanwhile Britain is in the midst of political turmoil as the clock ticks down on its planned withdrawal from the on March 29.

More than two years after voting to leave the bloc, the country and its lawmakers remain bitterly divided over Brexit.

MPs are set to vote next Tuesday on Theresa May's divorce deal negotiated with amid staunch opposition to the plan.

She has warned defeat in the could throw the country into "uncharted territory" with no clear path forward governing how Brexit will unfold.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Wed, January 09 2019. 22:26 IST