On Saturday, an estimated 100,000 people from across the UK gathered to ‘Unite for Europe’ and protest against Britain’s withdrawal from the EU
With four days left before Theresa May’s Article 50 notification on Wednesday 29th March, marchers gathered to represent the pro-Remain voice.
The march was scheduled to start from Hyde Park at 11am, but a large turnout caused a delay to proceedings. Groups from cities such as Birmingham (‘EU in Brum’) and Leeds (‘Leeds for Europe’), and all political parties – apart from UKIP – joined the jubilant and diverse march.
Banners and placards included slogans such as: ‘Hastings loves Europe since 1066’, ‘Never gone give EU up’ and ‘I’m British, I’m on a march, Things must be bad’.
Once at Parliament Square, people heard speeches from Lib-Dem MPs Nick Clegg and Tim Farron, as well as NHS employees and students. Labour MP, David Lammy, said that ‘we’re living in a dictatorship’, because democracies should allow people to change their minds. Lammy noted that David Davies, Brexit Secretary, had previously made similar comments.
These are momentous times for the rest of Europe, as well. The London event coincided with pro-EU marches taking place across European cities on the 60th birthday of the Treaty of Rome; the founding document of today’s union.
Protestors from Saturday’s march were concerned with the media coverage; some even suggesting that it had received more coverage in Germany and Spain. Meanwhile in the UK, news outlets from the Daily Mail to the Independent were reporting of ‘remoaners’ refusing to give into police pleas to abandon Saturday’s march, in light of last Wednesday’s attack on Westminster. However, the metropolitan police had in fact announced that there was a ‘proportionate policing plan in place’, and had given the all-clear for the long-organised march.
In addition, as a mark of respect to the police service and the victims of Wednesday’s attack, pro-EU marchers laid flowers at the gates of Parliament, held a minutes silence in respect, and gave their thanks to the policemen and women en route; many seemingly enjoying the atmosphere of the parade.