Online petition to revoke Brexit gets 600,000 supporters in less than 24 hours

An online petition asking to revoke Brexit gathered more than 600,000 signatures in less than 24 hours. (AFP)
Updated 21 March 2019
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Online petition to revoke Brexit gets 600,000 supporters in less than 24 hours

  • The petition launched on Wednesday admitted that a second referendum ‘may not happen — so vote now’
  • The petition was started by Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who said: ‘It’s almost like a dam bursting’

LONDON: An online petition asking the British government to revoke Brexit briefly crashed on Thursday after a surge in support saw it garner more than 600,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.
With just eight days to go until Britain is scheduled to leave the European Union, the petition launched on Wednesday admitted that a second referendum “may not happen — so vote now.”
“The government repeatedly claims exiting the EU is ‘the will of the people’. We need to put a stop to this claim by proving the strength of public support now, for remaining in the EU,” the petition read.
A House of Commons spokesman said the technical difficulties on the website for the petition were caused by “a large and sustained load on the system.”
The petition was started by Margaret Anne Georgiadou, who told the BBC: “It’s almost like a dam bursting.
“It’s now or never for a lot of people,” she said.
Britain’s parliament will be able to vote next week on a range of preferred courses of action for the government to take if MPs reject for a third time a divorce deal negotiated by Prime Minister Theresa May.
One of those options could be to revoke Article 50 — the formal procedure under which Britain is negotiating to leave the bloc after 46 years of membership.
Parliament last week voted against holding a second referendum after the main opposition Labour Party, which has been highly ambivalent on the issue, abstained.
Georgiadou, who voted to stay in the EU in the 2016 referendum, said Remainers like her had been “silenced and ignored” since that vote.
“In a democracy, everyone’s included. In a referendum, the losers have no voice. I was annoyed about that,” she said.


At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

Updated 17 June 2019
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At least 161 dead in northeast Congo in apparent ethnic clashes

  • A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation
  • Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo

GOMA, Democratic Republic of Congo: At least 161 people have been killed in a northeastern province of Democratic Republic of Congo in the past week, local officials said on Monday, in an apparent resurgence of ethnic clashes between farming and herding communities.
A series of attacks in Ituri province has mostly targeted Hema herders, who have long been in conflict with Lendu farmers over grazing rights and political representation, although the exact identity of the assailants remains murky.
Open conflict between Hema and Lendu from 1999-2007 resulted in an estimated 50,000 deaths in one of the bloodiest chapters of a civil war in eastern Congo that left millions dead from conflict, hunger and disease.
Tit-for-tat attacks between the two groups in late 2017 and early 2018 killed hundreds of people and forced tens of thousands more to flee their homes, but a tenuous calm had taken hold until this month.
Pascal Kakoraki Baguma, a national lawmaker from Ituri, said the latest violence was sparked by the killing last Monday of four Lendu businesspeople.
“Members of the Lendu community believed that these assassinations were the work of the Hema,” Kakoraki said. “This is why they launched several attacks on Hema villages.”
“Sources affirm that 161 bodies have been found so far. But the death toll goes beyond the bodies recovered, as there were other massacres of civilians and police officers,” he said.
Jean Bosco Lalo, president of civil society organizations in Ituri, said 200 bodies had been found since last week in predominantly Hema villages, including the 161 mentioned by Kakoraki. Lalo said the toll would rise once his teams gained access to other villages where killings had been reported.
Ituri Governor Jean Bamanisa said provincial authorities were still working to establish the exact death toll and declined to say who was responsible.
He said the assailants’ tactics were to “empty out the villages, burn them and pursue those who had fled to the surrounding areas with bladed weapons.”
Congo President Felix Tshisekedi, who took office in January, is trying to restore stability to the country’s eastern borderlands, a tinderbox of conflict among armed groups over ethnicity, natural resources and political power.
Several rebel leaders have surrendered or been captured during his first months in office, but armed violence has persisted, particularly in North Kivu province, south of Ituri, which is the epicenter of a 10-month Ebola outbreak.