With the right-wing U.K. government of Prime Minister Theresa May under fire for the chaos unleashed by failed Brexit negotiations—and a final deadline swiftly approaching—more than a million people took to the streets of London and other cities on Saturday as part of "People's Vote" demonstrations demanding a new referendum on whether or not the country should leave the European Union.
According to the Independent: the estimate of over one million demonstrators, "provided by the People's Vote UK, would make it the biggest march to be held in the UK since the Iraq War protest in 2003."
The Associated Press reports:
The "People's Vote March" kicked off shortly after noon and snaked from Park Lane and other locations to converge on the U.K. Parliament, where the fate of Brexit will be decided in the coming weeks.
Many marchers carried European Union flags and signs praising the longstanding ties between Britain and continental Europe.
Liberal Democrat leader Vince Cable, invited to help lead the march, called the crowd impressive and unified.
"There is a huge turnout of people here from all walks of life, of all ages and from all over the country," he tweeted. "We are a Remain country now with 60 percent wanting to stop the Brexit mess."
Among those marching was London Mayor Sadiq Khan:
Some of the media attack our judges as enemies of the people.— Sadiq Khan (@SadiqKhan) March 23, 2019
The Prime Minister attacks our MPs for standing up for ordinary people.
Well - we are the people - and when it comes to #Brexit we want a say over our future. #PeoplesVote #PeoplesVoteMarch pic.twitter.com/6Lh93cdb3J
And as the deputy leader of the Labour Party put it:
The Prime Minister claims she speaks for Britain. Well, have a look out of the window Prime Minister. Open your curtains. Switch on your TV. Look at this great crowd today. Here are the people. Theresa May: you don’t speak for us. #PutItToThePeople pic.twitter.com/wnKOrtmoO8— Tom Watson (@tom_watson) March 23, 2019
According to BBC:
The streets around Park Lane were teeming with people hours ahead of the march's scheduled 1pm start, having come from all corners of the country - and some from further beyond.
The blue and yellow of the EU was splashed all over the ever-expanding crowd, which was full of groups of families, friends, colleagues and political groups.
Many people came draped in flags and carried homemade signs, featuring slogans ranging from playful - "Never gonna give EU up" - to political - "Forget the Ides of March - beware the Brexit of May". And then there were the plain angry - "Brexit is treason".
One member of the crowd, German-born vet Chris Reichmann, described the atmosphere as a "carnival " - with "lots of different nationalities" but "really British in a way".
And it was noisy, with some of London's most recognisable streets overflowing with people marching steadily to a soundtrack of beating drums, whistles and blaring horns.
Occasionally the hordes would erupt into spontaneous cheering, as well as chants of "What do we want? People's vote. When do we want it? Now!"
Rob Worthy, a 62-year-old unemployed grandfather told the BBC he was not the typical political activist, but said the demonstration was vital for the nation's future.
"This is the first time in my life at the age of 62 that I've come to something to make a statement because I see no future for this country, for my kids or my grandkids," Worthy said. "It's just a total mess so I thought I've got to make a stand."