'THOUSANDS' OF people braved the cold last night as a number of protests took place at locations across the Ireland/Northern Ireland border.
The protests were organised by Border Communities Against Brexit and targeted 38 areas which sees countless people cross the border each day, including in counties Armagh, Monaghan, Derry, Donegal, Fermanagh, Cavan and Leitrim.
Border Communities Against Brexit protest Armagh/Monaghan border #NoBorisBorder pic.twitter.com/z7FMRU0aYw
— barry watters (@barry_watters) October 16, 2019
The protests took place the night before a crucial EU Summit-- the last one before the UK are set to leave the European Union on October 31st.
With just two weeks to go and still no deal or any substantial plan to avoid a hard border in Ireland, the protesters were intent on sending a message to the UK and the EU: a hard border in Ireland is unacceptable.
Up to 100 people attending the Border Communities Against Brexit protest on the Omeath Road this evening. The message was simple and clear our communities will not accept any borders. Any Brexit deal must protect our communities, economy and our peace process. pic.twitter.com/EuCsyU1M7z
— Cllr Antóin Watters (@cllrawatters) October 16, 2019
The rallies saw people gather at border crossing locations, where some people drew attention to their campaign in a unique way by banging bin lids on the roads.
Supporters spread the word on Twitter with the hasntag #BCAB4EU: Border Communities Against Brexit for the European Union.
Regarding the rallies, the BCAB said that "the message was clearly sent tonight to UK and EU governments: we will not accept anything less than the Backstop deal with no border and protection of citizens rights".
Thousands of people joined #NoBorisBorder protests at 38 locations tonight – the message is loud and clear;
🛂 NO Border!
🚧 NO Barriers!
❌ NO DUP/Unionist veto! @ElishaMcC_SF pic.twitter.com/Q2EuKsyrLN
— Sinn Féin (@sinnfeinireland) October 16, 2019
A common theme was voicing anger towards the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) who continue to veto the 'Backstop'-- an arrangement which would have avoided a hard border but which would keep Northern Ireland tied to the EU in other ways for a limited time.
‘Listen to our voices
Respect Our Vote’
Declan Fearon of Border Communities Against Brexit, addresses those preset at Jonesborough
; NO border, NO barriers, NO DUP veto! #NoBorisBorder #BCAB4EU 🚧❌ pic.twitter.com/OvjYX4xcEC
— NewryArmagh SinnFéin (@newryarmaghsf) October 16, 2019
But as the protests were taking place last night, so were negotiations between the EU and the UK. An agreement was reached which would guarantee no hard border in Ireland, instead placing it in the Irish Sea-- but which the DUP immediately stated they "could not support".
The heads of Border Communities Against Brexit are today travelling to Brussels, where the final EU Summit before the Brexit deadline will take place.
The UK are due to leave the EU in 14 days.