The tide has turned – Hundreds of Thousands march in London

The People’s Vote march on Saturday 23 June 2018 was a great success, receiving prominent national and international media, as hundreds of thousands of marchers descended on London to express their political rights with a peaceful demonstration.

But how many marchers were there in total?  All over social media people are debating the total numbers, with estimates ranging from over 100,000 at the bottom end to over 500,000 at the top end. This article intends to shed some light on this subject.

The #StopBrexit section at the People’s Vote march
Calculating the Size of the March

Crowd sizes of marches are notoriously hard to calculate, chiefly because crowd density varies, and in this case, the calculations are harder than most as side streets all along the route were also packed full of people.

Stop Brexit Ltd supported this march with its own section which formed outside St James Palace. To ensure the safety of our marchers we calculated the crowd capacity of the area well in advance of the march. According to these calculations, the combined capacity of Pall Mall and St James Street was 300,000, with an upper limit of 500,000 allowing spillover into the side streets. Any numbers above that would see backlog into Piccadilly and require the closure of that street.

View of the march down St James Street on Sat 23 June 2018

On the day itself, St James Street filled up, but did not reach it’s maximum capacity, as there was a continuous flow of people overtaking the march line along the pavements . Nevertheless, there were at least 10 abreast in St James Street (excl. people on pavements), with an average of just half meter space per row. This equates to roughly 100 people per 5 m road length. As St James Street is 220m long, this indicates a minimum of 40,000 for that street alone, but possibly as many as 70,000  during peak times. St James Street is notably not shown in the aerial footage taken by helicopters overhead.

For Pall Mall, the aerial footage clearly shows a far higher crowd density than St James Street, with about 20 people abreast. As the street is 644m long, this indicates a minimum of 200k on Pall Mall, which conforms with our pre-march calculations of a holding capacity of 200k, the limits of which were reached.

The aerial footage also shows that St James Square and many side streets were full of protesters as well, suggesting that at least 300k marched that day.

While  500k figure seems a little high, it is not impossible. Indeed many marchers commented that it was far more crowded than the “Stop The War” march in 2003, for which estimates ranged between 750k to 2 million .

Simultaneous Pro-Brexit March fails to attract

One thing that is without dispute is the remarkable difference in size to the pro-Brexit “Independence Day” march which took place on the same day.

The aerial footage of this which is contained in the second half of the drone footage published by RT, clearly shows a march less than 150 m long, with an estimated number of no more than 3000 people at best.

This lack of enthusiasm in itself is an indicator of a waning appetite for Brexit even among its most fervent supporters, that the tide has turned and that the will of the People has changed.