A mass of protesters ranging from British far-right activists through to Trump-voting Americans and French supporters of a ‘Frexit’ and others are among those attending a Ukip event outside the House of Parliament “sponsored”, in the party’s words, by Tommy Robinson.
As supporters of the separate March to Leave event in Parliament Square assembled in front of a big screen, members of both crowds walked between it and the Ukip event, which was due to be addressed by the party’s leader, Gerard Batten.
To cheers, a number of Loyalist marching bands made a loud entrance to Parliament Square shortly after 4.30pm.
Rabia Ouchikhe, a French citizen from the island of Réunion who was gathered with others from France’s Eurosceptic UPR movement, said: “Brexit is a huge inspiration to us and we want France to follow.” She said about 800 people had travelled from France.
Other speakers were due to include Robinson, whose real name is Stephen Yaxley-Lennon, as well as the YouTube figure Carol Benjamin.
Homemade placards and outfits ranging from yellow vests to military fatigues, as well as polo shirts of the various football fan groups that have come together under the banner of the Football Lads Alliance, were visible in the crowd.
Barbara Parish, a former nurse from Nottingham, was wearing a crown and the sash of the suffragettes, and carrying a placard tracing UK democracy from the Magna Carta to universal suffrage and beyond. “Don’t let the EU and parliament destroy it,” was her message.
The gathering was watched by attendees who had floated across from the other rally. They included Louise Peart, a former police officer and NHS worker from Surrey, who described the parliamentary impasse as a “shambles”.
“We’re tired of getting tarnished as far right or racist or the other. We’re just working, middle-class people who want democracy to be carried through,” she said.