We will be providing an accurate count of today's anti-choice march through Dublin


A large anti-choice march will pass through Dublin today and the organisers will attempt to massively exagerate the number taking part as part of their campaign to keep the hated anti-women 8th amendment.  WSM will be there providing a count of the real numbers of people marching and we would strongly encourage our supporters to retweet and share the results as well as challenging any false exaggerated reporting of the numbers you may see.  Along with the rest of the pro-choice movement we are not mounting a counter-protest this year, we will simply be there to observe and to count.  From 14.00 track @wsmireland on twitter and keep an eye on our Facebook pages, in particular Solidarity Times which will carry a livestream from around 2.15.

Graphic - how many people can be crammed in at rock concert density on Merrion square.

Exact count will be available of today’s anti-choice march through Dublin

Today ahead of the expected referendum in May a large anti-choice demonstration will pass through Dublin supporting a No vote in that referendum.  Journalists have a particular responsibility in referendum campaigns towards factual accuracy and in particular in reporting the number of people who will have marched.  We will be providing a precise  count of the number of people who march today via @WSMIreland on Twitter and on the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityTimes/ 

This count will be provided by two independent teams counting in two seperate locations on the route of the march, figures for both counts will be provided.

We are the Workers Solidarity Movement, originally formed in 1986 and active in many struggles in the years since.  Part of our activity has been to provide accurate counts of the numbers who take part in demonstrations to the organisers of those demonstrations, these are rarely made public but from time to time we have provided public counts.  We are a pro-choice organisation which understands that an essential part of winning any struggle is to have accurate information as to where people are at.

Today we intend to lifestream one of those counts to  https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityTimes/ so in real time you will be able to hear the count in progress and judge its accuracy by viewing the section of the march being counted. 
With the demonstration due to start at 14.00 the lifestream shall begin shortly before the front of the march reaches the location of that counting team.  Both counts will be available via @WSMireland and https://www.facebook.com/SolidarityTimes/ within 5 minutes of the back of the march passing the last count team.  The exact time will of course be dependent on the length of the march but is likely to be some time around 15.00.

Our methodology will be to count the passing march in blocs of 10 people.  This is a method we have used for several years and provides a high degree of certainty, certainly with an error of less than 10%.

We shall however also be providing a figure to indicate the maximum number of people who could fit into the space the march occupies before it leaves Parnell square.  Our observers will calculate this by noting where the back and front of the march is at departure and calculating how many people could fit into the space between back and front at a density similar to the of a concert.  This figure will be a significant over estimate but it provides an upper limit to any claims of crowd size and we are providing it because we have previously seen media report figures that would require a physically impossible number of people to be crammed into the space occupied, sometimes as much as three times the maximum number.  We will be using the Crowdsize App to provide that maximum estimate, if you have journalists on the ground they could do likewise.

For more details and previous controversy we recommend the article we published on last years Rally for Life number and their serious misreporting https://www.wsm.ie/c/rte--reports-10s-thousands-march-life you can also consult our video https://youtu.be/dFDGouci2FI

Note the method described in that article is cruder as it involves using one minute samples whereas today we will be counting the entire march

This 2013 article uses a different method to demonstrate that 60 thousand people cannot in fact fit in to the end point on Merrion Square https://www.wsm.ie/c/turnout-vigil-life-dublin-jan2013

And finally this is an exactly counted image that shows how much space 3657 people take up on Merrion square in a Gunness Book of Records attempt http://metro.co.uk/2011/06/19/wheres-wally-thousands-dress-up-as-character-to-break-world-record-50126/