Farage’s Brexit Party MEPs turn their backs on EU anthem during parliament opening ceremony
A group of 29 MEPs from Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party symbolically turned their backs on the European anthem as they were sworn in during the EU Parliament’s opening ceremony on Tuesday.
As the newly elected politicians took their seats for the first time, they turned around as the European anthem ‘Ode to Joy’ rang out in the parliament building in Strasbourg.
The protest appeared to get under the skin of the parliament’s president Antonio Tajani. “Rising to your feet is a matter of respect,” Tajani said. “It does not mean that you necessarily share the views of the European Union. Even when you listen to the anthem of another country you rise to your feet.”
Prior to the protest, leader Farage said he had a “funny feeling” that his MEPs would still be there come November 1, despite the UK’s date for leaving the bloc currently being set for October 31, and the expected incoming prime minister Boris Johnson has vowed to leave the union by then with or without a deal.
“We’re not going to sit in there and listen to our country be talked down,” Farage told reporters during a photoshoot outside the parliament building. “At the first sign of insult, they will know we’re here, don’t worry about that.”
Brexit Party MEPs also flew miniature British flags in yet another symbolic act of defiance.
Brexit Party MEPs flying the flag in EU Parliament. pic.twitter.com/zdyKYvftbG— Michael Heaver MEP (@Michael_Heaver) July 2, 2019
Meanwhile, anti-Brexit Liberal Democrat Party MEPs carried out their own ostentatious protest, by wearing their ‘Boll**ks to Brexit’ t-shirts to the session.
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