Tyne & Wear

Brexit 'Leave Means Leave' march sets off from Sunderland

First leg of the March to Leave demonstration, embarking from Sunderland to Hartlepool Image copyright Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Image caption The walkers will end the day in Hartlepool

A 14-day protest march organised against a perceived Brexit "betrayal" and led by Nigel Farage is under way.

The first leg, organised by the Leave Means Leave campaign, set off from Sunderland and concludes in Hartlepool.

Mr Farage said: "If politicians think they can walk all over us, then we're going to march back and tell them they can't."

One counter-protester, Frank Hindle, said he was there "to point out that not everybody agrees with this crowd".

Anti-Brexit group Led By Donkeys plans to follow the march with two advertising vans displaying previous comments made by Mr Farage.

Image copyright Led By Donkeys
Image caption Anti-Brexit group Led By Donkeys has crowdfunded advertising boards showing previous comments by Mr Farage

As Mr Farage arrived, counter protesters let off a flare in the EU colours, with shouts of "exit Brexit".

Addressing the crowd the former UKIP leader said: "The will of the people is very clear.

"If you see what has been happening in Parliament this week, we may well not be leaving the EU," he said.

Image copyright Scott Heppell/Reuters
Image caption Despite the rain Nigel Farage addressed the crowd from an open-top bus

There have been reports of scuffles and angry rows between some marchers and counter-protesters.

Some counter protesters carried love hearts saying "we love workers' rights" and "we love to have a say", but were branded "EU money grabbers" by marchers.

Image copyright Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Image caption The crowd gathered in the rain, watched by police and reporters

The procession will make its way to London in the course of two weeks and is expected to culminate in a rally in Parliament Square on 29 March, the original date for the UK to leave the European Union.

The walkers are due to travel from Hartlepool to Middlesbrough on Sunday.

According to the Leave Means Leave website, tickets for "core marchers" - priced at £50 for accommodation, breakfast and dinner for the duration of the 14-day event - have sold out.

Mr Farage aims to cover 100 miles of the 270-mile march.

Image copyright Christopher Furlong/Getty Images
Image caption The crowds included a significant media presence
Image copyright Led By Donkeys
Image caption Anti-Brexit group Led By Donkeys has organised advertising in Sunderland

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