Cheers for Farage at Brexit Party's final pre-vote rally

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Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage (C) holds up a placard at the end of a European Parliament election campaign rally at Olympia London, west London on Tuesday. — AFP

LONDON — Thousands of cheering supporters gave euroskeptic figurehead Nigel Farage a raucous ovation on Tuesday as the Brexit Party held its final rally before the European Parliament elections.

Supporters packed out a London hall in support of a party that did not exist six weeks ago yet is way ahead in the opinion polls.

Meanwhile across the British capital, the Liberal Democrats, the biggest anti-Brexit party contesting Thursday's EU elections, held their final pre-vote rally before a much smaller yet still determined crowd.

At the Olympia venue, thousands had paid £2.50 ($3 dollars) to cheer Farage, who was roared on as he voiced frustration at MPs who failed to deliver on the 2016 Brexit referendum verdict and get Britain out of the European Union.

"The establishment: they're not frightened — they're absolutely terrified!" said Farage, who was given several standing ovations by supporters waving flags in the party's turquoise colors.

"We've managed to give millions and millions of people in this country — who were frustrated, upset, angry, on the point of saying they may never vote again, so sick were they of the shenanigans — we have given them hope, optimism and belief."

Farage was given a rock-star welcome, with booming music and fireworks as supporters chanted his name.

Many had come straight from the office, dressed in their suits and work attire, before pulling on Brexit Party T-shirts left on every seat.

The names of Conservative Prime Minister Theresa May, Labour main opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn and EU chiefs were booed and hissed as Farage spoke about overtaking Britain's two main parties and securing its exit from the EU.

"This is now about far more than leaving the European Union. This is about a bigger, more fundamental question of democracy," Farage said.

"Mrs May, by her constant, abject surrenders to these unelected bully-boys in Brussels, has humiliated our nation and I've had enough of it.

"If we win big on Thursday, we will kill off any prospect of parliament forcing a second referendum upon us because they know they would lose!"

There was also a surprise guest appearance by former Czech president and prime minister Vaclav Klaus.

He said Brussels was out to "punish, denigrate and humiliate Great Britain as much as possible" and show other EU nations there was "no friendly exit" and that "small countries don't have a chance to leave the EU.

"In the forthcoming elections, you should give the whole rest of Europe a good example. Many Europeans need it and many are waiting for it. Don't disappoint them."

Meanwhile the Liberal Democrats are out to stop Brexit in its tracks.

They are polling a surprise second and are hoping to be confirmed in Thursday's vote as Britain's main party representing staying in the European Union.

Leader Vince Cable gathered around three hundred supporters at a London club for a final rally designed to showcase his party's new-found strength.

"A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote for an international, outward-looking Britain. A vote for the Liberal Democrats is a vote to stop Brexit," he said.

The party's clear-cut rejection of Brexit appears to be resonating with Remain voters who both fear Farage and feel frustrated with the two main parties, Prime Minister Theresa May's Conservatives and the Labour opposition.

Cable and Farage will debate head-to-head on Wednesday in an event organized by a British newspaper. — AFP


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