Brexit protests: Thousands take to streets in London and Rome as EU celebrates 60th anniversary - without UK

James Rothwell
A demonstrator holds a placard bearing a Union, EU and Irish flag as she prepares to participate in an anti Brexit, pro-European Union (EU) march in London - AFP or licensors

A crowd of Brexit protesters gathered in London on Saturday, as EU leaders in Rome signed a treaty renewing their vows amid a heavy police presence. 

In London, the Unite for Europe march is to head from Park Lane towards parliament, with dozens of protesters carrying yellow flowers to lay at a memorial for the Westminster attack victims. 

And in Rome, security has been ramped up ahead of four marches and two sit-ins taking place on Saturday which could see up to 25,000 people descending on the capital. 

Police dinghies are patrolling the Tiber River and some 5,000 officers including bomb-sniffing dog units have beem deployed on the streets amid reports that anarchists might try and disrupt proceedings.

<br> The protests come just a few days before Theresa May is expected to trigger Article 50, which will begin the formal process of leaving the EU. 

Speaking in Rome, Jean-Claude Juncker, the president of the European Commission, said it was a tragedy that the Rome treaty - which marks the bloc's 60th anniversary - was being signed without Britain.