Supporters of Britain’s continued membership in the European Union took part in a rally in London that organizers said was the biggest ever demonstration of its kind.
Organizers of the Oct. 20 march through the streets of London said that about 700,000 people took part in the anti-Brexit demonstration. If accurate, attendance figures at the estimated level would make Saturday’s demonstration the second largest protest in the UK since the turn of the century, according to The Guardian.
The Metropolitan Police said it was not able to estimate the size of the crowd, which filled London’s Parliament Square to demand that the British government holds a public vote on the terms of Brexit, according to the BBC.
Aerial footage posted by The Metro conveyed a sense of the scale of the crowd.
A number of British Members of Parliament calling for a fresh vote on Brexit came out in support of the march, the BBC reported.
Mayor of London Sadiq Khan was among those who addressed those assembled at Parliament Square.
“What’s really important is that those that say that a public vote is undemocratic, is unpatriotic, realize that in fact, the exact opposite is the truth,” Sadiq Khan said, according to the BBC.
“What could be more democratic, what could be more British, than trusting the judgment of the British people.”
Meanwhile, a pro-Brexit rally was held in Harrogate, organized by the group Leave Means Leave and led by former UKIP leader Nigel Farage.
“The evidence suggests about a third of those that voted remain now say we’re democrats and think the government should simply get on with it,” Farage said, according to the BBC.
“And that’s our message – get on with it, fulfill your promises to us, you said if we voted to leave it would happen, it needs to.”
In London, protesters waved the blue and gold flag of the EU and held up banners under sunny skies to call for another referendum on the eventual deal on how Britain will leave the world’s biggest trading bloc.
Demonstrator Sarah Bennett, who had traveled from Holmfirth, Yorkshire, to take part in the event, told Reuters that although she would like for the UK to remain in the EU, a soft Brexit would be a better outcome for Britain than not reaching a deal with Europe.
The march comes as pressure builds on Prime Minister Theresa May over her negotiating strategy with just over five months until Britain is due to leave. There is, so far, no divorce deal and some rebels in May’s Conservative Party have threatened to vote down a deal if she clinches one.
Some opinion polls have shown a slight shift in favor of remaining in the European Union, but there has yet to be a decisive change in attitudes and many in Britain say they have become increasingly bored by Brexit.
Britain voted to leave the EU by a margin of 51.89% to 48.11% in a referendum in June 2016.
The UK is scheduled to leave on 29 March 2019.