Brexit flag battle at Britain's Last Night of the Proms
LONDON, United Kingdom – It was a battle of the flags on British classical music's biggest night Saturday, September 10, as the Union Jacks usually brandished by the audience were joined by EU standards handed out by Brexit opponents.
The Last Night of the Proms is the climax of the BBC Proms – two months of mainly classical music at London's Royal Albert Hall which this year featured stars like Daniel Barenboim and Martha Argerich.
Every year, the Last Night features a series of traditional British songs including Rule, Britannia – a paean to the nation vowing "Britons never will be slaves" – during which audience members wave flags with gusto.
This time round, an online crowdfunding campaign raised over £1,000 (1,200 euros, $1,300) to pay for European Union flags for audience members "to show UK solidarity with the EU".
In response, Arron Banks, a millionaire businessman who backed the "Leave" campaign in June's referendum vote to leave the EU, told the Daily Telegraph newspaper he was putting up £5,000 for British flags.
In the end, a smattering of EU flags were visible along with the usual flood of British Union Jacks, plus flags from other countries including the US, Canada, Germany and Japan.
The BBC's website explains that, while "the Union Flag is a favorite in the Royal Albert Hall", patriotic displays from other countries are not unusual.
The Proms date back to 1895 and are broadcast around the world to millions of people.
The special guest performer at this year's Last Night of the Proms was Peruvian tenor Juan Diego Florez, who led the rendition of Rule, Britannia dressed as legendary Inca figure Manco Capac. – Rappler.com