Westminster's 'Stop Brexit Guy' brings his one-man protest to Brussels

Westminster's 'Stop Brexit Guy' brings his one-man protest to Brussels
"Mr. Stop Brexit," who staged daily protests outside Westminster through 2018 and 2019, drew dozens to a protest held outside the EU parliament in Brussels. Credit: The Brussels Times

Britain's unrelenting "Stop Brexit Guy" brought his daily protest movement to Brussels, drawing dozens to an event held in front of the European Parliament.

A small crowd of Europhiles and reporters gathered around Steve Bray as he stood on the esplanade outside the parliament's Altero Spinelli building, brandishing his familiar double-sided, anti-Brexit placards.

Known as "Mr Stop Brexit" or the "Stop Brexit Guy," Bray rose to notoriety for his daily protests against Brexit outside Westminster, during which he also disrupted numerous live TV interviews.

"I came to Brussels just to visit this parliament," Bray said, carrying a bundle of protest signs reading "lead with facts not leave with lies," and "I'm still here because I still care."

Credit: The Brussels Times

Held just over a week before the exit date on 31 January, Bray's small protest still drew British EU supporters to the event, come dressed in EU-coloured garments and waving EU and UK flags together.

Wearing his trademark blue and yellow top-hat adorned with hatband reading "Why Brexit?", Bray spoke with other demonstrators in front of the parliament, with many soliciting him for a photo.

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"I admire him a lot, he's a hero in my eyes for standing outside Westminster, day in and day out, fighting for the cause," Allan Tomlins, a retired translator and library official in the EU Parliament, said.

"You could say I'm here as a sardine for Brexit," he added, in reference to the grassroots Italian protest movement against the government's right-wing policies and specifically targetted far-right party leader Matteo Salvini's populist techniques.

Credit: The Brussels Times

Twice throughout the event, Bray shook up the calm atmosphere of the gathering, picking up his megaphone and letting out two "STOP BREXIT!" and "WHY BREXIT" bellows that echoed through the parliament's esplanade.

"We're going through Brexit, it's going to be a disaster, there's no doubt about it," Bray said, adding that going through with the withdrawal would be "tragic" for UK citizens in the EU as well as for the UK "and the world, too."

Credit: The Brussels Times

"I will continue to fight until we rejoin if I have to," Bray said, speaking of plans to continue his daily appearances outside of Westminsters, which would particularly focus on Questions to the Prime Minister day on Wednesdays.

Tomlins said he had chosen to remain in Belgium and that he had recently obtained Belgian nationality.

"I've come to the event because I wanted to see the man himself," he said, eyeing Bray. "Whether there's any hope [to stop Brexit] is another matter."

Gabriela Galindo

The Brussels Times

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