While the People’s Vote People’s March recently became the biggest political demonstration since the Iraq War, with estimates of around 700,000 demonstrators arriving from around the country, Tommy Robinson and Ukip’s Brexit Betrayal march today only mustered around 3,000 marchers ahead of Tuesday’s crucial vote on the Brexit deal.
For a family march, there did not appear to be many families. Or ethnic minorities.
The march was met and outnumbered vastly by a rather more mixed and multicultural Stop Tommy Robinson march attended by around 15,000 in central London.
Police took no chances and kept both separate and controlled entry points to Westminster to stop trouble. The Metropolitan police said there were three arrests.
Laura Parker, Momentum’s national co-ordinator, who had supported the anti-racism protest against Tommy Robinson, said:
“Today is a huge blow for Tommy Robinson and his vile, hate-fuelled politics. Even with the Ukip machine in tow he only managed to bring a few thousand supporters out on the streets, while we mobilised nearly 15,000 to march against his racism and bigotry.”
There was an ugly scene when a noose and gallows were spotted on the Brexiteers’ march as a threat to the Prime Minister.
“That’s what the traitor May deserves. That’s what treasonous people get,” insisted the protestor carrying it in the Ukip march.
MPs from both sides of the benches condemned the sight.
A demonstration in solidarity with Ukip’s London march due to be held in Liverpool today never turned up.
Former Ukip leaders Nigel Farage and Paul Nuttall both publicly disassociated themselves from their former party in the past few days, expressing concerns at the far right anti-muslim direction it has taken under Gerard Batten, bringing in controversial figures such as Tommy Robinson and Count Dankula who taught a pug dog Nazi salutes.
Scotland Yard said the three arrested today were held for a public order offence, assault and possession of an offensive weapon, respectively.
“Unfortunately we cannot have a defenceless country, we cannot have open borders, it’s ridiculous. I don’t mind immigration, but it’s got to be controlled, said one protestor on the Ukip march.
Robert Gray, 64, who traveled to London with friends from York for the march after joining Ukip earlier this year, wore his old dog lead from his days in the Northern Irish dog unit.
On Tommy Robinson, he added: “I love the man, the man is an absolute genius.
“He’s not got a racist bone in his body; he tells the truth, he tells it as it is.”
On voting Labour or Tory, he said: “I hate them both. Ukip is a veterans’ party.”
By Ben Gelblum, Berny Torre and Stephen Beech