Hundreds of thousands gathered in Parliament Square, with signs, flags, and a desire to remain in the EU, for the People’s Vote March held on March 23.
Calling for a public vote in the final Brexit deal, this march was followed by a series of speakers, including Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, and first minister of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon.
With people traveling from all over the UK and Europe, the “Put it to the People” march and rally did just that, gaining international media attention and nearly 5 million signatures on a petition to revoke Article 50.
The reserved, although tactful, passion displayed toward this cause, peppered with a great sense of humor, is quintessentially British, and arguably the most effective way to protest Brexit.
But as an American attending this march, I expected things to go very differently.
My experience with protests and rallies comes from the 2016 American Presidential Election: a series of events brimming with hate speech, fights, attacks on candidates and the media, and only a fraction of homemade signs, none as clever as any I saw on the walk from Trafalgar Square to Parliament.
Although a slew of politicians blamed May for the UK’s current state, there were no comments from MPs or higher-level political figures, bashing May’s gender, family, race, or intelligence, for example.
Security was present, though not extremely noticeable, a world of a difference from the heavy police presence at any American political event.
Crowds were heavy, but polite, and following the rally, thousands filed into the Tube, signs and EU hats in tow, to return to their homes, satisfied to have participated in a massive event impacting their country’s’ future.
America… take some notes.