The British prime minister’s plan to suspend parliament for five weeks just days after members of parliament return to work and only a few weeks before the Brexit deadline has provoked severe condemnation from MPs.
The decision, which has been approved by the Queen, is widely considered to be Boris Johnson’s cover to force through a no deal Brexit.
Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn has said it is a “smash and grab on our democracy” and First minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon has said it will “go down in history as the day UK democracy died.”
House of Commons Speaker John Bercow has called it a “constitutional outrage.”
Protests are being held in major cities across the UK calling Johnson’s decision a coup and demanding the prime minister resign.
Analysts took to social media to express surprise that the word coup, used regularly in Middle Eastern politics, was being used to describe Western affairs of the state.
I’ve spent more than a decade analysing the rise of populism in the West, and authoritarianism in the Arab world. I have seen the hashtag #StopTheCoup before – but I confess, I didn’t think I’d see it in relation to anywhere within the West in my lifetime… #Brexit #Prorogation
— ᴅʀ ʜ.ᴀ. ʜᴇʟʟʏᴇʀ (@hahellyer) August 28, 2019
The shutting down of Parliament is something we’re used to seeing in Lebanon – never thought I’d see this sort of political hijacking in the U.K.
— Sirine Jawhari (@SirineGJ) August 28, 2019
Several questioned why the BBC and other media outlets had not adopted the term coup.
Are we calling it a coup d’etat or at least a coup attempt in UK yet, @BBCNews?
Asking for all the former colonies where you would have jumped to use those words.
— Sunny Singh (@sunnysingh_n6) August 28, 2019
If this had happened in an African Nation or in the Middle East the BBC would be screaming coup!!
BBC News – Boris Johnson asks Queen to suspend Parliament https://t.co/gMVZuhSd44
— Peter Hunt (@tsdpete) August 28, 2019
If a President or PM of a country in Africa / South America/ Middle East suspended a democratically elected parliament, for their own agenda , what would mainstream media call it ? #coup #brexit pic.twitter.com/AToqSU6dJZ
— John Barry (@Bridgeaviation) August 29, 2019
Others ridiculed British tropes on the Middle East including the time worn question, are Arabs ready for democracy?
As a Middle East analyst who deals w/officials from many govts, I’m asked with troubling regularity if Egyptians or Arabs are ready for democracy. Yes they are. Based on this from @BorisJohnson, one wonders if the UK Prime Minister is ready for democracy? https://t.co/0wL3jubOEb
— Timothy E Kaldas (@tekaldas) August 28, 2019
I dunno what the answer is. But I do know that we are not and never will be ready for Boris Johnson as PM.
— Lisa Goldman (@lisang) August 28, 2019
Others pointed to links between the UK and dictatorial regimes namely Egypt’s Abdel Al-Fattah Al-Sisi.
— Abdelfattah Elsisi (@AlsissiOfficial) August 29, 2019
With Liberal Democrats MP Chuka Umunna saying: “The Prime Minister is behaving like a tin-pot dictator, pure and simple, and the People’s Parliament will not stand for it.”