Remainers March Fills London

Although the front of the People’s Vote March for the Future was at the Hyde Park Corner end of Park Lane, several thousand people were in front of the banner when the march was due to begin, stretching some way down Piccadilly.

Among them and right at the front were a group of protesters from Movement for Justice who clearly see Brexit as motivated by xenophobia and racism. They called noisily for Brexit to be stopped and for free movement and an end to the UK’s racist immigration policies. Among them were many who have suffered long periods of indefinite detention in Britain’s immigration detention centres, where MfJ has held numerous protests calling for these prisons to be closed, as well as campaigning and giving assistance to those held inside .

Piccadilly behind the MfJ was fairly densely crowded and it took me some minutes to make my way back to the official head of the march with its banners and placards, where I think stewards were waiting hoping that the road ahead would be miracuolously cleared, but there were just too many people for this to happen.

The march began and I stood on Piccadilly taking pictures of the marchers (some of which are in People’s Vote March – Start on My London Diary.) When people were still walking past me half an hour later I got on the tube at Green Park and went to Westminster, where I found that before any marchers had reached Parliament Square it was already fairly full.

I walked around the edge of the square, then decided to walk up Parliament St towards Downing St to be around there when the marchers arrived, stopping there for a few minutes to photograph anopther protest taking place by the People’s Mujahedin of Iran against executions of the political opposition in Iran.  Political artist Kaya Ma was standing there with paintings of Theresa May, Jeremy Corbyn, Boris Johnson and Jacob Rees Mogg.

Among the first to arrive was Elvis, riding a tricycle, coming to sing and play with others who were already opposite Downing St, and soon Theresa May turned up holding a rope, with which she was leading a captive Britain.

At the end of the rope tying his wrists together was a man dressed up in a Union Flag, his mouth gagged and wearing a blindfold, carrying a small poster ‘No Influence’.

The whole width of the road was filled with people walking slowly towards Parliament Square, though after a while this was full and Whitehall also began to fill up. Some friends at the back of the march told me that they never managed to leave Park Lane, and there were reports of a large overfill in Green Park, unable to make further progress.

Eventually I decided I’d been standing on my feet too long and decided to try and make my way to Charing Cross – the crowd towards Westminster station which was closer looked too dense to make much progress. There was a single Brexiteer with a megaphone taking on a small crowd who gathered around him, but failing to make much sense, and a line of police across the entrance to Horseguards Avenue where a small protest was taking place in front of the Ministry of Defence.

I wandered down briefly to find it was Veterans United Against Suicide, who as well as calling for more to be done to help service men and veterans in the fight against their developing PTSD and eventually committing suicide were also supporting a soldier discharged for being photographed in  uniform with extreme right figure Tommy Robinson.

I returned to Whitehall and walked up towards Trafalgar Square, but was soon brought to a halt by a densely packed crowd now also trying to leave. People were partying in Trafalgar Square and it took me around 15 minutes to get to Charing Cross station for a train.

MfJ at People’s Vote March
People’s Vote March – End

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