London — Almost four years after the British public voted in a referendum to “Brexit,” the U.K. is finally leaving the European Union on Friday. At 11 p.m. in London (6 p.m. Eastern), the United Kingdom will cease to be a member of the union it joined more than 47 years ago.
The British public has been bitterly divided over the divorce with the EU, and the historic day has been greeted with both cheers and tears in London. While many will herald it as a day on which the United Kingdom reclaims some lost independence, others will mourn it as a grave loss.
Opposing groups, pro- and anti-Brexit, gathered around Parliament in central London on Friday afternoon. They occasionally shouted insults at each other. While there is still a year of “transition period” to complete the actual task of Brexit, it may take a lot longer than that to heal the divided kingdom.
Below, CBS News’ will bring you ongoing coverage of the day that many here have dreaded for years, and many others feared would never happen.