People’s Vote March

On Saturday 20th October, many of British in Europe’s steering team met with their supporters and members of the3million to take part in the People’s Vote march.  

Michael Harris, founder of Eurocitizens in Spain, takes up the story:
The sunny autumnal morning was as crisp and fresh as a Cox’s Orange Pippin plucked from the tree. Little by little, the esplanade of Speakers’ Corner filled with EU flags, placards demanding a final say for all, blue berets with gold stars and white jerkins sporting the ‘the five million’ logo. Gaggles of marchers formed around the banners of coalition groups like RIFT and British in Italy. As at a mass get-together of computer daters, people finally met in the flesh some of the colleagues they had been communicating with online for many months.

We moved out into the park to hold a rally with the3million, our allies in the struggle against the political tsunami that threatens to rip away our rights and tear apart the fabric of our lives. One of the speakers, BiE’s Kalba Meadows, declared that this unity was ‘the only good to come out of Brexit’. To finish, the crowd thundered ‘We are the five million!’, first in English then in other languages. Fired up and ready to go, we submerged ourselves in the torrent of people flowing down Park Lane.

As in the chaos and confusion of a medieval battle, our ranks were quickly broken by the multitude swirling around us, but one group managed to defend the standards of British in Europe and the3million, animated by a music system blasting out fados and tangos. It was all great fun. Amongst heartfelt chants of ‘Bollocks to Brexit!’, we danced, we laughed at the funny placards, we waved at the helicopters hovering overhead, we chatted with comrades or total strangers and patted our four-legged friends from the woofarendum.

Four hours later, tired and footsore, most of us had reached Nelson’s Column, making no attempt to squeeze into Parliament Square where the speeches had already ended. Members of the BiE steering group then limped over the Thames to meet the3million at the Festival Hall. There, we finalised the details of our next action, the Guy Fawkes lobby of MPs to demand the ring-fencing and strengthening of the Withdrawal Agreement. Our day at parliament will hopefully be backed up by a huge e-lobby by our members. Yes, that’s a big hint!

Despite the obstacles ahead, the divisive posturing of the Brexiters, the breathtaking incompetence of our government and the pusillanimity of most British politicians, something changed last Saturday. Instead of the measly 100,000 demonstrators of June, nearly three-quarters of a million people had marched with us. Over three hundred Britons had travelled to London from every corner of the EU, representing thousands of people in the groups back home. We had every reason to be proud. We had marched for what we believe in: an open and tolerant Europe where people can live their lives in peace rather than in a world fenced off into inward-looking nation states. And, whatever happens in the coming months, we would be able to tell our friends and family that we had fought for our rights. We had stood up to be counted.

{with special thanks to Nick Gammon for capturing our team before we lost each other in the crowd!]

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