britain referendum united kingdom london.jpg

On London's Parliament Square, underneath the impressive clocktower of Big Ben, the fears and anxieties churning in the stomachs of many pro-EU residents of the British capital were not immediately obvious on Friday.

Just one day after more than 17 million voters decided to end Britain's 43-year relationship with the European Union, the red double-decker buses with open tops were still lurching and braking their way through the city traffic.

Tourists snapped photographs in front of an old-fashioned telephone booth, and commuters hustled along the sidewalks, paper cups of to-go coffee in hand.

But behind the stately architecture, amid the rush to work, the city's residents are asking how something they held to be impossible was now a reality.

"I'm devastated," Anne-Marie Williams tells dpa. The outcome caused her physical pain, the 51-year-old says, putting her hand on her stomach.

Williams lamented that her children will have fewer opportunities in the future, that they won't be able to travel or study as freely.

"What for?" she asks.

The issue of social fairness - or the lack thereof - is seen by many Londoners as playing a role in the decision for a Brexit. For James Dickson, a construction firm employee, Britain's marginalized groups were a major force behind an exit from the 28-member bloc.

"If it revealed anything, it is that the UK is not at ease with itself," the 52-year-old project manager tells dpa. British society is deeply split, Dickson adds.

The referendum results in London - home to an international population and the world's largest financial centre - stood in stark contrast to most other areas in England, where majorities opted for leaving the EU.

According to the BBC, across all 33 boroughs of the British capital, nearly 60 per cent, or 2.26 million, voted in favour of remaining in the EU. The remain vote was more than 70 per cent in some areas, the broadcaster reported.

Overall, 52 per cent of British voters supported the Brexit, while 48 per cent wanted to remain in the EU.

For banker Lotfi Ladjemi, a now-certain Brexit means imminent financial losses. But that's not what shocks the 37-year-old the most.

"I thought being British meant being inclusive, liberal and generous," Ladjemi tells dpa. People have been mislead and manipulated, he says, adding that it seemed as if the country used the migration issue to make a wide-reaching decision with consequences that many do not comprehend.

"I feel less proud being British today," Ladjemi says.

Despite having lived a decade in Britain, Mario Peleanu says he never felt British. Sitting on a wall ledge near Scotland Yard headquarters, the 45-year-old Romanian smokes a cigarette and stares straight ahead.

Peleanu, a carpenter, says he has a settlement permit and does not worry about being forced to leave Britain. But since learning of the referendum results, he feels less welcome in Britain, which has become homeland of his children.

"What will be next? Does Europe fall apart?" he asks.

Related stories

Latest news

Petrokemija posts HRK 87.3m loss in 2016

The Petrokemija artificial fertiliser manufacturer made HRK 1.93 billion in revenues in 2016, expenditures were HRK 2.02 billion and the loss was HRK 87.3 million, down 5.6% on the year, the Kutina-based plant said on Monday.

Wigemark says election legislation amendments of utmost importance for Bosnia

Wigemark said that amending the election legislation and continuing the process for joining the EU were the most important political processes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

Egyptian court upholds 10 death sentences in 2012 football riot

Ten defendants in a 2012 Egyptian football stadium riot, in which 74 people were killed, saw their death sentences upheld by an Egyptian court Monday.

Italian cops bust ring giving fake EU papers to 'enormous number'

Police said Monday they had busted a criminal ring that sold fake work papers to thousands of immigrants, allowing them to obtain Italian residency permits and access to the rest of the European Union.

Militants launch two rockets into Israel from Sinai

Two rockets fired from Egypt's Sinai peninsula landed in Israel on Monday.

US vice president reaffirms commitment to European Union

The United States remains committed to a "continued cooperation and partnership" with the European Union, US Vice President Mike Pence says.

Strike shuts museums and archaeological sites in Greece

The majority of archaeological sites and museums in Greece will remain closed on Monday.

Iran carries out more missile tests despite US pressure

Despite US sanctions, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard carried out more missile tests on Monday, part of three days of military manoeuvres.

Eleven injured as migrants storm Spanish enclave of Ceuta

Around 350 migrants managed to scale the 6-metre-high double border fence around the Spanish enclave of Ceuta in Morocco early Monday.

One Vietnamese sailor dead, seven abducted in attack off Philippines

Suspected pirates killed a crew member of a Vietnamese-flagged cargo ship and abducted seven in the latest attack in southern Philippine waters, coast guard officials said Monday.

Famine declared in parts of South Sudan - 100,000 facing starvation

More than 100,000 people are facing starvation in parts of violence-plagued South Sudan, three UN agencies said Monday as they declared famine in parts of the country.

North Korean envoy to Malaysia: 'We cannot trust the investigation'

North Korea "cannot trust the investigation" by Malaysian police into the death last week of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's half-brother, Pyongyang's ambassador to Malaysia said Monday.