Last Saturday there was a rally in central London in support of the anti-Brexit People's Vote, with claims that up to three quarters of a million people attended it. But did they?
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO BELOW
After reading of the claims that hundreds of thousands, in fact as many as 670,000 plus people attended last Saturday's march in support of the so-called 'People's Vote', I looked around at all the images and video evidence and thought to myself 'that does not look that many to me'.
It also seems that the police do not like giving out assessments of crowd numbers these days.
So I did a quick Google search and found a tool that could help to indicate how many people had really been on those streets at that time.
For the purpose of evaluating the numbers of campaigners there, I used four sources and I've left links to all four in the descriptions box below – please check them out.
The first source is a map of the route from The Sun online.
The second source is a Guardian News video that shows aerial shots of the crowd at three points.
The three points are:
The start point, which was just to the North of the London Hilton Hotel.
A second point where protestors are holding a large display.
And the third point was the area around Parliament Square, which was at the end of the march.
The third source I used is a French site called mapchecking.com, which allows you to overlay an area on a Google map and tells you how many people would fit in there, if there were anywhere between 0.1 and 7 people per square metre within that area.
The fourth source is an explanation of crowd density by a Professor Dr G, Keith Still, which gives you an idea of what the difference between one person and seven people per square metre actually looks like.
Now, I will apologise for not taking the easy route and showing you screenshots of the various sources, but I will not risk the possibility of a copyright strike against my channel so I will talk you though it instead and ask you to check out the sources yourself.
I looked at the Guardian News footage and saw that the first minute or so shows an area from the North of the Hilton Hotel, down to Apsley House and then East along Piccadilly.
You will note that although much looks well filled, there are many empty or more sparsely filled spaces.
The second aerial shot in that video shows people carrying a large banner designed to be seen from the air and there are very large gaps in the crowd.
And the final aerial shot in the Guardian video shows the area around Parliament Square – and that does not look at all full.
Given that video source, I have made the assumption that this video would have been put together to emphasise the size of the crowd.
I then looked at gkstill.com on crowd density by Dr Still, and decided I would be generous to the protesters and use a figure of two people per square metre when assessing the crowd numbers overall. After all it is a march and people need room to move. And bear in mind that when soldiers march in close formation they are usually about one soldier per square metre – and they march in step and at the same speed.
So please bear in mind that the following assessments are based on a much tighter formation than army close order drill.
I then used the simple and easy to use polygon shaping tool on map checking.com to cover the entire route on Google Maps, as indicated on the map supplied by The Sun. From Marble Arch down to Wellington Arch, along Piccadilly, St James's Street, Pall Mall and Parliament Street up to and including the area around Parliament Square.
And the answer it came up with for the whole area, if it was totally filled to every nook and cranny with people at the number of two per square metre, was about 250,000.
I also mapped out the area shown in the first few seconds of the Guardian video where the people were congregated and using the same two per square metre, it came out with about 100,000,
I then mapped out the area, where people were, in the final part of the video in Parliament Square, where you can see there are not that many people and using two people per square metre, there could be up to about 31,000 in that area.
The march route itself is about two miles long and I reckon the crocodile would progress at about two miles an hour at best. So it would take a full three hours minimum with every part of the route chock-a-block to get three quarters of a million people through it.
And then the most important question of all, what happens when all those people get to their destination at Parliament Square? An area that could hold at best about 100,000 if they were packed in at seven people per square metre. Do they instantly go home, or disappear into thin air, or do they hang around chatting and hoping to catch the promised speeches etc? After all they've made the effort to get there haven't they?
Both the Huffington Post and the Evening Standard said in the run up to the march that about 100,000 were expected, and these are usually optimistic assessments from the organisers.
Having looked at the available evidence, I would put the numbers between 100,000 and 150,000 if I felt generous and between 50,000 to 100,000 if I was feeling a bit mean.
But, please don't take my word for it, I would encourage people to spend a little time playing with the map checker.