The packed in nature of the #Strike4Repeal on O'Connell bridge made it impossible to do an actual count. So we've done the next best thing, used the area occupied to calculate how many people could have fitted into the space photos show was occupied. We also did the same thing for the later #March4Repeal
In both cases we used a crowd counting app that allows you to draw out an area and then calculates how many people fit into that area. With the bridge its complicated because the centre of the bridge is under reconstruction and was sealed off behind fences. So the simple method we used above was to calculate how many people fitted into that area and subtract that from how many people would have fitted if it was also accessible. This tells us that at peak crowd, a little after 13.00, up to 8,000 people turned out for #strike4repeal
A similar calculation for the #March4Choice gives over 10,000 but as some people were also on Molesworth street we've added another 1000 to that figure to give 11,000.
These are huge numbers in themselves but in comparison with other demonstrations they are even more impressive.
Demonstration organisers have the habit of over estimating their crowds by a factor of two or more. We've been doing these crowd size figures for the last few years and consistently found from water charges to anti-war marches organisers will generally claim a figure at least twice as big as what could have physically fitted into the space. Nobody ever does an actual count so once people start thinking a crowd that fills a particular space is X thousand that error gets established through repetition.
Youth Defence, as might be expected, lose all sense of reality and routinely claim figures 7 and 8 times larger than what might fit. If either of yesterdays demonstrations have been called by Youth Defence they'd have claimed there were 70 or 80 thousands on the streets. More amusingly they do the opposite with pro-choice demonstrations so if you look at their 'figures' over the years for the exact same space they will claim it was 'filled' by 70k at their event but by only 2k at a pro-choice one!
Doing this consistently has also revealed that media crowd estimates are never based on any attempt to actually count people or measure the space filled. The Irish Times initially said hundreds of people were on the bridge and only updated that to thousands after an outcry. Garda estimates tend to be no better, indeed as the official line is that they don't do counts its hard to know where claimed Garda estimated come from. We rather suspect in some cases organisers go from cop to cop asking for a guess and then cite the biggest they get!
So in a lot of ways if the organisers had claimed 20,000 attended each event they'd have been making a guess that fits into the pattern. Whatever the exact number the turn out was remarkable, particularly the 8,000 during the working day.
It's a very clear demonstration of the huge momentum behind the demand to Repeal the 8th Amendment and to do so now with no further stalling.