On Saturday 25th March, glorious sunshine met the more than 200 Bathonians travelling up to London to take part in the hugely successful ‘March for Europe’ against Brexit. Three coach-loads left Bath early Saturday morning and were joined by many more taking trains and cars to the capital. According to police estimates, about 100,000 people took part in the march. Local coordinator Alice Hovanessian expressed her pride that Bath is at the forefront of resistance to Brexit and said, “Demand was high for places on the coaches. We could easily have put on more transport.”
The Bath contingent arrived at 11 am at Park Lane, central London and joined the tens of thousands of people from all over the country making the two-mile protest to Parliament Square. Accompanied by bands and banners, the festival atmosphere of the march proceeded through Piccadilly onto Trafalgar Square and Whitehall, before massing in Parliament Square for speeches.
Joining the Bath group was Australian-born mum and daughter, Melissa and Miranda Temple-Smith, who made their home in Bath 14 years ago. “Due to its geographical location, Australia is quite isolated,’ Mrs Temple-Smith said, “From an Australian perspective, we see Britain turning its back on Europe, becoming more isolated and certainly less tolerant and more divided… This is really concerning and, to be honest, I really do fear for my children’s future.”
Her daughter, 18-year-old Miranda Temple-Smith, a recent graduate from Ralph Allen School, agreed. “For me and all my classmates, being cut off from Europe is like having an arm cut off! We feel have no voice. The EU is the only thing that consistently stands up for so many things, like the environment and human rights.”
One of our younger marchers was a 12-year-old who also felt compelled to take part in representing Bath on a wider stage. “I feel so strongly that my future is being taken away from me and I’ve had no say in it,” said the St Gregory’s student. Accompanying her was father Chris, a telecommunications expert who commented, “As a parent it’s worrying to see opportunities closed. I’m deeply concerned about safety issues when we see what’s just happened at Parliament. We are definitely stronger together.” In memory of last week’s Westminster attack, marchers laid flowers and observed a minute’s silence.