Organisers of Saturday’s National Rejoin March (NRM) said it was “scandalous and bizarre” that the BBC had not covered their rally, which was attended by European politicians Guy Verhofstadt and Terry Reintke as well as campaigner Gina Miller.
France 24’s UK correspondent, Bénédicte Paviot, who was on the scene, reported: “Tens of thousands of people, who’ve come from all over the United Kingdom, converged here in London in the heart of Westminster.”
Speaking to the PA news agency, German MEP Reintke said the march showed the UK had “managed to build one of the biggest pro-European movements all across Europe”. On social media, she and the march organisers also claimed there had been tens of thousands present.
Other estimates, such as from Spanish newspaper El Mundo, put the number of attendees in the thousands. El Mundo further noted that the protest "received more coverage in the international media than in the local".
Images from the anti-Brexit rally in London on September 23 seem to show many thousands in attendance
“It is scandalous and bizarre that the BBC are refusing to cover it,” Peter Benson, an NRM spokesperson told The National.
“[Brexit] has added considerably to the cost of living crisis and inflation, and consequently higher interest rates. It’s a huge story for the British nation.”
He went on: “It's not just about a march, it's about the cost of living.
“Brexit has made the lives of everybody worse and we are frankly shocked and saddened that a British institutional broadcaster is refusing to cover this story.
“We want to further add that both Sky News and BBC News were in Whitehall and Parliament Square at the same time that our march and rally was going on. They were covering another march of a few hundred people and we didn't get any coverage.
“So is that self-censorship by the BBC? We'd love an explanation.”
The other, much smaller protest, was against Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s plan to ban the sale and ownership of American Bully XL dogs, once the breed has been defined.
Video online showed verbal clashes between people at the two concurrent rallies, with one of the Bully XL supporters accusing the Remain campaigners of being "traitors".
Unlike the anti-Brexit demonstration, the dog owners’ rally was covered by the BBC, as were pro-independence marches in Falkirk and Bangor, in Wales.
— Matthias Mueller 💙 🇩🇪🇬🇧🇪🇺 (@MatthiasMuell15) September 23, 2023
Edwin Haywood, the author of Slaying Brexit Unicorns, wrote on Twitter/X: “Marches BBC news online covered today: - Scottish independence in Falkirk - Welsh independence in Bangor - Wales 20mph protest in Cardiff - Just Stop Oil in Bristol
“Marches BBC news online made no mention of today: - Anti-Brexit March to Rejoin in London
And Richard Corbett, Labour’s former leader in the European Parliament, wrote: “So not even a brief mention on @BBCNews tonight of the massive #RejoinMarch in London with many 1000s demonstrating to reverse Brexit.
“The people the Tories placed in BBC management have done their job.”
A BBC spokesperson said: “Coverage can depend on a range of factors including how busy the news agenda is on the day and our aim is to reflect a wide range of events and voices.”