Watch: The day a community ran a far-right group out of town
These were the scenes yesterday when hundreds gathered in Llantwit Major to voice their opposition to a demonstration by far right group Patriotic Alternative.
The group which is led by former BNP publicity officer Mark Collett, were in the town to oppose Vale of Glamorgan council’s plans to house Ukrainian refugees at an old school.
A very small number of their supporters with banners proclaiming ‘Wales is not a migrant camp!’ and ‘Britain is full’ were drowned out by a counter demonstration from locals who had previously said they would greet the far-right demonstrators with Welsh cakes – as a symbol of Welsh hospitality.
While we are very happy with our 2-0 victory on the pitch yesterday, the best result in our town was by far the people of Llantwit’s rejection of these Nazi’s. We’re very proud to represent the brave and kindhearted people of our community 💙💛
— Llantwit Major AFC/CPD Llanilltud Fawr (@LlantwitMajorFC) March 26, 2023
Resident Aled Roberts told Newyddion S4C: “We as a nation welcome people. To see a protest like this against housing Ukrainians here. It’s repugnant to me as a Welshman.
“I’ve heard that people have being trying to influence youngsters and people and that’s unacceptable. They have a right to protest as do we.
“It looks like there’s a lot more of us than them. I just hope the protest remains peaceful.”
— llantwitad (@llantwitad) March 25, 2023
The streets of Llantwit Major belong to the anti racist majority. Locals join other Welsh anti racists to say that refugees are welcome here and nazis are not.@AntiRacismDay @walestuc @rcccymru @eystwales @WalesRace #RefugeesWelcome #NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/gosJ7s0MEk
— SUTR Wales (@sutr_wales) March 25, 2023
Fellow demonstrator Sam Coates who also opposed the Patriotic Alternative presence in the town.
“I am here because I don’t want fascists on our streets. I want to ensure people who seek to divide us, feel they can’t return,” he told Newyddion S4C.
“My priority is to make people who’ve made Wales their home feel welcome here.”
💥Explosive moment in Llantwit Major today, as anti-fascists cheer as a tiny crowd of Patriotic Alternative supporters walk away having been massively outnumbered.
— voice.wales (@voice_wales) March 25, 2023
PA outnumbered not only by anti fascists but middle aged folk giving out Welsh cakes is objectively very funny.
— r (@raccoonstans) March 25, 2023
Residents organised a number of community events to show that refugees are welcome and the far-right protesters weren’t.
An overnight vigil was held at St Illtyd’s Church, attended by local MS Jane Hutt and in the town’s square, dozens gathered to distribute Welsh cakes.
One of the organisers, Richard Parry, told Newyddion S4C: “People have come together to celebrate the welcome in the town and kindness of the town.
“The people of the town have said there’s no place for provoking hatred and perpetrating anger. This is a town that can do its own political dialogue.
“Kindness is the basis of community. We’ll sort out the political issues around the town. We don’t need outside interference.”
Seeing Llantwit Major fend off fascists with a giant Welsh cake has to be the highlight of the day 🏴 pic.twitter.com/NC0ho4ZYme
— Tom Collins (@tcols) March 25, 2023
South Wales Police’s Insp Mark Henderson said the protest was mainly peaceful but two people were arrested after skirmishes with police: “Officers have been present in Llantwit Major today to facilitate peaceful protest and minimise disruption to the wider community.
“The protest was in the main peaceful however two protesters were arrested.
“There are no other reported injuries and the protesters eventually dispersed without any further incident.”
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