Ex-minister piles pressure on South Wales Police after protest outside Drakeford’s home
A former Welsh Government minister has piled the pressure on South Wales Police for their handling of a protest outside Mark Drakeford’s private residence.
According to the force, the First Minister was “at no point” at risk from the 150 anti-lockdown demonstrators who gathered outside his house in Cardiff.
Some reports suggest that those taking part included protestors wearing yellow star badges, similar to those Jewish people were force to wear in Nazi Germany.
There were chants calling for the First Minister to be arrested.
South Wales Police defended their response to the protest after the Labour Senedd member for Swansea East, Mike Hedges MS, called on Chief Constable Jeremy Vaughan to resign or apologise.
Ex-minister Alun Davies MS, who represents Blaenau Gwent, said on Twitter: “This is ludicrous. @MikeHedges is absolutely right. @swpolice got this wrong.
“We cannot allow the private family home of any person holding public office to be targeted in his way.”
The protest was roundly condemned across the political divide after pictures of the demonstration on social media sparked alarm.
Mr Hedges said there were more police on Swansea’s Wind Street on a Saturday evening than there were at the protest.
“What is the difference between 150 miners demonstrating during the miners’ strike and 150 people demonstrating and shouting outside the first minister’s house?” Mr Hedges told BBC Wales.
“They didn’t treat it seriously”.
‘Crossed the line’
The protestors were also condemned by the First Minister’s predecessor, Carwyn Jones, who said they had “crossed the line” by staging the demonstration outside his home.
However, he dismissed the suggest that Mark Drakeford should have an official residence, saying it would be “overkill” despite heightened fears over security.
But Lib Dem Cllr Joe Carter, who represents Pentwyn on Cardiff Council, disagreed, voicing his concern on Twitter.
He said: “I think this incidence (sic) makes the case for a proper First Minister’s official residence. Scotland has Bute House, we need a properly secured residence. Cardiff’s Mansion House is barely used and could be a great official residence if @Welsh Government bought it from the council.”
An official for South Wales Police said: “The right to peaceful protest is a well-established part of democracy in the UK.
“At the weekend a number of protestors took to the streets of Cardiff to protest against lockdown measures, which was part of a national campaign.
“The focus of the protest moved from its original location to take place outside the home of First Minister Mark Drakeford.
“In line with existing protocols, a police officer of inspector rank spoke to Mr Drakeford before and throughout the protest, who confirmed that he was aware of the protest and had no concerns for his safety.
“Officers were deployed to the area and the protest remained peaceful and dispersed after a short period of time.”
“At no point was the safety of the first minister at risk,” the spokesman said, adding those in attendance “acted lawfully”.