Campaigners hand out thousands of EU flags for Last Night of the Proms

Pro-EU group distributes crowdfunded flags to concertgoers for use during traditional union jack-waving performance

Pro-EU music lovers have been out in force since the early hours of Saturday at the Royal Albert Hall to hand out thousands of EU flags to concertgoers before the Last Night of the Proms.

Organisers behind the show of European solidarity arrived at the west London venue to distribute the 2,500 flags they bought after raising £1,006 for the plan through a crowdfunding campaign.

Traditionally prom-goers triumphantly wave union flags on the last Saturday of the concert series. This year, however, it looks as though the blue EU flag and its yellow stars will jostle for space against the red, white and blue crosses.

In a statement, the organisers, who want to remain anonymous, said: “Music doesn’t recognise borders, religion, gender, age, status or creed and most orchestras, shows and music schools rely heavily on talented musicians from inside and outside the EU.”

They added: “Accordionist Romano Viazzani summed it up perfectly when he said: ‘Music is the universal language. It builds bridges and tears down walls’.”

On Saturday morning the team tweeted a picture of concertgoers with EU flags gathered outside the venue. They captioned the image: “First prom-goers arrive with EU flags in solidarity with musicians and music.”

Remain party goers bring union and EU flags for the proms. We're British, but EU too. Proud of both

— EU Flag Mafia (@EUflagmafia) September 10, 2016

In a series of tweets, the people behind the movement urged concertgoers to pick up one of the flags on their way in to the performance.

The Musicians’ Union sent a message of support on Twitter on Friday, saying: “We support musicians and prom-goers pro-EU show of solidarity at the Last Night of the Proms.”

Although the pro-EU group stressed the event was a celebration, not a protest, there has been a high-profile backlash against their campaign. The prominent Brexit backer Aaron Banks has pledged to hand out five times as many union jacks as EU flags.

The Leave.EU co-founder paid £5,000 for 10,000 union flags to be doled out to concertgoers.

However, the organisers hit back in a tweet, saying: “Aaron Banks of Ukip produces 10,000 flags for 5,000 proms-goers. Over promised yet again I see.”

Twitter users supported the move, with @EricaNeustadt writing: “A real positive to have #union jacks alongside #EU flags! Thank you #Brexit for helping @EUflagmafia’s campaign!


Ruth McKee

The GuardianTramp

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