London: A German woman living in London has launched "Hug a Brit" an unusual and poignant attempt to persuade Britons to stay in the European Union at a membership referendum in June.
"We are EU citizens who want the British people to stay in the European Union. This is our love bomb," read the Twitter slogan posted by @pleasedontgouk.
Citizens of other European countries posted pictures of themselves hugging their British friends under the hashtags #hugabrit and #pleasedontgouk in a social media campaign aimed at Britons who have not yet decided how to vote.
One Instagram message showed German fan Christine Ullman hugging her "youth idol" Jarvis Cocker, frontman of the Britpop band Pulp.
In another tweet a woman posted a picture of herself embracing a statue of British author Virginia Woolf.
Many of the messages accompanying the selfies contained emotional pleas and praise for Britain.
"London is the best place in the world because of the great mix of cultures," wrote Roberta Cucuzza.
The campaign was started in February by Katrin Lock, a German who has lived in London for seven years.
It has gathered momentum in recent days, with selfies posted by Britons hugging European migrants living in Britain and embraces elsewhere in Europe.
Opinion polls indicate that the "Leave" and "Remain" camps are neck-and-neck, while up to 20 percent of Britons have still not made up their minds ahead of the crucial vote on June 23.
"Our message is not about statistics, jobs or about the merits of EU rules on shower caps or cucumbers. We just don't want the UK to divorce us," read a manifesto on the campaign website pleasedontgouk.com. "Our message comes from our hearts," it added....