Hundreds delivered a message of friendship and openness to Europe at a pro-EU rally in Sheffield today (July 6).
People gathered outside the Town Hall to express their disappointment at the result of last month’s referendum. In line with the national result, 51 per cent of Sheffield voters picked the leave option, with 49 per cent choosing remain - a difference of fewer than 6,000 votes.
But, with a continental market selling goods from across the world in Fargate nearby, people at the rally also sent a clear message of friendship to people both inside and outside the EU.
Dr Rajin Chowdhury, who campaigned to remain in the EU prior to the referendum, was one of those who spoke at the rally.
To the background noise of a single pro-Brexit heckler, he said: “We’re not here to ignore leave voters. We’re not here to bash them and say they made a wrong decision.
“What we’re here to say is that going forward, we need to reach out to them but we need to ensure that our voice is not forgotten. That our voice cannot, should not and must not be ignored.”
The rally was held to coincide with a full meeting of Sheffield Council, where Coun Craig Gamble Pugh condemned hate crime, particularly in light of the rise of racially-motivated abuse following the referendum, and Coun Joe Otten said it was in Sheffield’s ‘best interests’ for the UK to remain full members of the EU.
Sheffield Liberal Democrat leader Coun Shaffaq Mohammed, speaking at the rally, said: “We see our future working with Europe - ideally being within Europe, within the EU, and playing a part.
“If that’s not possible because the political leadership that governs this country at the time decides, then we must be clear that our economic interests are still to be in the single market and we have to do everything, because there are some big challenges.”
Trevor Andrews, who lives in Leeds but works in Sheffield, said leave campaigners should have been clearer about the facts.
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