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Senedd to review protest paraphernalia policy after former MS asked to remove Palestine badge

01 May 2024 3 minute read
Bethan Sayed outside the Senedd after being asked to remove her pin-badge.

Emily Price

The Senedd will review its protest paraphernalia policy after a former MS wearing a Palestine pin-badge was asked to remove it before entering the building.

Bethan Sayed, a former Plaid Cymru MS, attended the Senedd for a work meeting yesterday but was turned away at the door by security.

Ms Sayed, who now works as a freelance political campaigner says that when she tried to pass through security on Tuesday (April 30), a guard stopped her and asked her to remove the pin-badge from her coat which she was wearing to raise awareness of the Gaza conflict.

The former MS was also wearing an Arab scarf and a t-shirt with the phrase, “Will you free my Palestine?”

The badge displays a Welsh dragon along with the colours of the Palestinian flag and the Welsh words, “Yma o hyd” which means, “Still here”.

The badge also includes an Arabic phrase which means, “Despite everything and everyone, I’m still here.”

The pin-badge worn by Ms Sayed.

‘Neutral’

Ms Sayed said: “I tried to ask why and it was indicated that some complaints had been made. I refused to take it off and said that a manager could speak to me if they wanted to raise it with me further.

“Another staff member talked to me as I left reiterating that there needed to be neutrality on the Senedd estate.”

She added: “I told them it wasn’t for me to be neutral but that I was just wearing a badge anyway. I was later called by the Senedd head of security who apologised to me about what happened.”

Senedd policy bans protest paraphernalia from the estate if there is a risk it could cause disruption to Senedd business.

This includes items such as banners or placards – but the policy doesn’t specify whether pin-badges can or cannot be worn on the estate.

Following yesterday’s incident, a review of the policy will now take place to ensure it’s made clear that “non-offensive” badges can be worn inside the Welsh Parliament.

A Senedd spokesperson said: “When we welcome visitors to the Senedd they are required to abide by a code of conduct for everyone’s safety and security.

“Following a constructive discussion with Bethan, the matter was resolved.”

Ms Sayed stepped down as a Member of the Senedd for South Wales West in 2020 after 13 years in the role.

She has remained a “pro-active activist” and has organised several rallies calling on the Welsh Parliament to support a ceasefire in Gaza.

The conflict has seen around 40,000 Palestinians killed and 80,000 wounded.

Review

Ms Sayed told Nation.Cymru she’s pleased to hear the Senedd is reviewing its policy.

She said: “Even if people were entering to go to a debate on Palestine I’d be annoyed if security were to ask people to take badges off that people are wearing as a mark of solidarity for the cause.

“People wear pin-badges for all sorts of causes and countries, so I was generally just taken aback that this was even a policy of an allegedly democratic institution.

“So good – review the policy and ensure we won’t be stopped for such silliness again. There’s bombing every day in Gaza while we focus on who wears what badges, where.”


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Riki
Riki
11 days ago

Ridiculous, shows you how plastic these politicians are, they care little for any culture and are only concerned for themselves. Free Palestine! And indeed, Yma O Hyd!

karl
karl
10 days ago
Reply to  Riki

Funnily enough you just described the former MS in question. Who jumped on lies and abused midwives.

Mike
Mike
11 days ago

Does anyone know where I can buy that pin badge?

Will Jones
Will Jones
11 days ago

Was she sober?

Valerie Matthews
Valerie Matthews
11 days ago

Have they got nothing more important to spend time/resources on than wittering om about a BADGE? Nearly everyone in the World thinks Palestine is being persecuted by their stronger , richer neighbour!

Riki
Riki
11 days ago

Neighbour? The country of Isreal only exists because it’s built on the grave site of someone else’s. They were given land that wasn’t theirs by a people whose it wasn’t to give. The formula of The creation of Isreal copied the Anglo creation of England to a tee. For example, they only like to claim Britain was or is country while the Anglo had control over it, the moment you go back far enough to show Brythonic control, all of the sudden it’s no longer a country. The same occurs to Palestine. Designed to justify the theft of the land… Read more »

David
David
11 days ago

An offensive pin badge is one that contains the Union Jack.

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