There was a display of mourning and a moment of silence for British MP Jo Cox Thursday as British voters cast their ballots in the referendum on whether the United Kingdom will remain a part of the European Union.
Cox, a rookie MP in the opposition Labour party and a supporter of the campaign to stay in the EU, was killed in broad daylight one week ago.
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Flowers, pictures of Cox and other mementos were piled in front of a polling station at the town hall in Batley, a part of her West Yorkshire constituency of Batley and Spen — on the same day as a court day was set for her alleged killer.
Thomas Mair, 52, is accused of shooting and stabbing Cox to death last Thursday after she exited a library in Birstall.
Mair made a court appearance Thursday via video link from a London prison, during which a judge set his murder trial date for Nov. 14.
Police have been investigating Mair’s alleged links to far-right extremism.
At an appearance Saturday, Mair refused to give his name and instead identified himself as “Death to traitors, freedom for Britain.”
According to the Guardian, approximately 200 people came together for one minute of silence in the village’s market square Thursday afternoon.
“This has been such a tragedy that it has certainly been in the foremost of people’s minds and I personally hope that today will be a kind of full stop for Birstall and that we can get on with our lives,” the <Guardian reported local vicar Paul Knight saying. “We will never forget Jo.”
The vote counting in the northern England area of Leeds and neighbouring Kirklees was briefly abandoned for a minute’s silence in honour of Cox.
Television footage showed ballot papers being set aside as counters stood up and bowed their heads late Thursday before resuming their work. Cox’s death has loomed large over the vote, darkening the tone of an already fiercely fought campaign.
The makeshift memorial outside the Batley town hall polling station drew some minor criticism, with some on social media suggesting it was a “political move.”
Leave supporters were also subject to criticism, after a pro-Brexit banner was reportedly flown over a memorial for Cox in London’s Trafalgar Square Wednesday — the day she would have marked her 42nd birthday. According to the Independent, the banner read “Take Control, #VoteLeave” flew overhead as Cox’s husband, Brendan Cox, was addressing the crowd.
The official Vote Leave campaign said it had nothing to do with the banner, the Independent reported.
With files from The Associated Press