Hundreds of thousands of people opposed to Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union marched through central London on Saturday to demand a new referendum as the deepening Brexit crisis risked sinking Prime Minister Theresa May’s premiership.
After three years of tortuous debate, it is still uncertain how, when or even if Brexit will happen as May tries to plot a way out of the gravest political crisis in at least a generation.
Marchers set off in central London with banners proclaiming “the best deal is no Brexit” and “we demand a People’s Vote” in what organisers said was more than one million people strong and the biggest anti-Brexit protest yet.
“I would feel differently if this was a well-managed process and the government was taking sensible decisions. But it is complete chaos,” Gareth Rae, 59, who travelled from Bristol to attend the demonstration, told Reuters.
“The country will be divided whatever happens and it is worse to be divided on a lie.”
While the country and its politicians are divided over Brexit, most agree it is the most important strategic decision the United Kingdom has faced since World War Two.
Thousands of pro-EU protesters gathered for the “Put it to the people march” at Marble Arch on the edge of Hyde Park around midday, before marching through the landmarks Picadilly Circus and Trafalgar Square and past the prime minister’s office in Downing Street to finish outside parliament.
March organisers estimated that more than one million people turned out for the march, exceeding a similar rally held in October, when supporters said about 700,000 people turned up.
It was not possible to independently verify the figure, although a Reuters reporter said the march was so busy that some of the crowd had to be diverted off the main route. Police declined to give an estimate on the number of protesters.
The one million estimate would make it London’s second biggest demonstration after a rally against the Iraq War in February 2003, which organisers said close to 2 million people attended.