The woman behind the petition to revoke article 50 has said she is scared and has been forced to close her Facebook account after receiving multiple death threats for launching the challenge to Brexit.
Margaret Georgiadou, who described herself as a frustrated remainer, set up the online petition in late February, calling for the UK government to revoke article 50 and remain in the EU. By Saturday afternoon it had attracted more than 4,400,000 signatures – making it the most popular to be submitted to the Parliament website.
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The petition gathered momentum shortly after the prime minister appealed to the British people to back her in her standoff with MPs from all parties. The number of signatures continued to rise on Saturday, with hundreds of thousands of people marching in central London for a “people’s vote” on Brexit, and many protesters calling for the UK to remain in the EU.
Georgiadou, who is currently in Cyprus, told the BBC: “I feel terrible, I feel angry with myself because I thought I was tougher than that. But I was scared. I haven’t even told my husband because he is very old and he would become hysterical.”
Earlier, Georgiadou tweeted: “Hi – am the person responsible for the revoke article 50 petition. Just needed to tell you that 1. I am currently visiting Cyprus. and 2. last night I had three telephoned death threats. Who wants Brexit so much that they are prepared to kill for it?”
In an earlier tweet she said that she had deleted her Facebook account after she was subjected to a “torrent of abuse” on social media.
On Thursday, the parliamentary petitions website crashed several times as so many people were trying to access it at the same time. The error message “bad gateway”, which displayed when the website was overwhelmed, even started trending on Twitter.
Conspiracy theories also appeared from both sides, with some saying the site’s troubles were a plot to prevent further signatures. Others claimed that a small proportion of signatures from overseas IP addresses – including one from North Korea – meant the petition had been “hijacked by bots”. In fact, 96% of the signatures were from the UK. The House of Commons petitions committee said: “Anyone who is a UK resident or a British citizen can sign a petition. This includes British citizens living overseas.”
The website livefrombrexit.com, meanwhile, created a page that ranks the petition’s signatories by constituency. It shows that the largest support comes from Bristol West, with more than 26,000 signatures, followed by Hornsey and Wood Green, with more than 23,000 people there supporting the petition.
Theresa May ruled out halting the Brexit process when in Brussels on Thursday, telling reporters: “I do not believe that we should be revoking article 50.”
This content was originally published here.