On Saturday, March 25th, 2017, a hundred strong representation of Stratford4Europe made their way to London to join a peaceful demonstration of solidarity with Europe and to show their concern for the future of the UK out of the EU. As a policeman jokingly observed, it was the “politest march ever”. “I’m British. I’m on a march. Things must be bad.” read one placard, “Brits Don’t Quit” said another.
The march coincided with EU leaders gathering to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome. The organisers, Unite for Europe, said: ”We are the 48 per cent, who voted against Brexit, and those who were not allowed to vote against it – the young and the EU nationals living, working and paying taxes in the UK. We are outraged by the government’s current direction in dealing with the result of the referendum.” It should also be noted that the Metropolitan Police and the GLA (Greater London Authority) were fully supportive of the march going ahead.
Police estimated that 100,000 people took part in the good natured procession from Park Lane to a sunlit Parliament Square. There, the crowds massed to hold a minute’s silence in remembrance of the victims of last week’s attack at Westminster. Many had brought floral tributes to pay their respects.
A range of speakers, including Sir Patrick Stewart live by video link, campaigning lawyer Jolyon Maugham QC, scientists and students took to the stage to express their worries about Brexit. Labour MP David Tammy and Green co-leader Jonathan Bartley were also amongst those addressing the crowd. Former Liberal Democrat leader and deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said “Thank you for standing for the principles of openness, tolerance and pluralism… and a European Union that of course is not perfect but has done so much for protecting us from tyranny.”