Buoyed by the Senedd’s endorsement for an immediate call for a ceasefire in Gaza to prevent further suffering, thousands of Welsh humanitarians gathered at the Aneurin Bevan statue at the bottom of Queen Street yesterday to demand Westminster follows suit on Tuesday following a parliamentary debate on the crisis.
After a series of powerful addresses by members of the Palestinian community in Wales, the march proceeded down Castle Street, turned left along Westgate Street to the BBC Cymru offices on Wood Street before concluding at Central Railway Station.
The number of protesters was substantially higher than the previous week when the Cardiff march coincided with the Wales-Barbarians game at the Principality Stadium. Then Westgate Street had been cordoned off because of the rugby, yesterday it was blocked by thousands calling for the slaughter to stop in Gaza and for the UK government to condemn the genocide in Tuesday’s vote.
A former MediaWales journalist, I desperately hoped for strong coverage of the march in today’s Wales On Sunday newspaper but was even more deflated than last week as, once again, it received no coverage on the front page… not even a plug to the Press Association report inside about the massive outcry in London, which focused on arrests of far-right supporters participating in Remembrance Day at The Cenotaph on Whitehall rather than the thousands taking to the streets in the Welsh capital.
This weekend though I was able to find some coverage on WalesOnline in a photo gallery with extended captions, which told how crowds of people had gathered at Cardiff's city centre to show their solidarity with Palestine.
“According to a WalesOnline reporter, who was at the scene, it was estimated that around 400 to 500 people had turned up to the event,” the captions stated. “The big turnout had an impact on nearby roads in the capital. Traffic on Westgate Street and particularly Castle Street was said to be moving ‘very slowly’ due to the size of the crowd marching.”
Presumably the WalesOnline reporter at the scene was either Branwen Jones or Ryan O'Neill, whose bylines both appeared with the gallery. Now, I was there too and I can assure both reporters there were more than several hundred... the turnout was easily into the thousands although I wouldn’t go so far as to say several thousands because there were way too many people to count while also taking photographs.
The captions also noted that: “The Cardiff march came as thousands of people were also taking part in a similar march in London.”
Okay, so that helps to clear up some of the confusion over hundreds and thousands at WalesOnline, as a Euractiv online report estimated the number protesting in London to be about 300,000… hey numeracy, it's not what it used to be!
On a few occasions during the march I noticed there was a small group waving Communist Party banners, no doubt trying to grab a bit of coverage by crashing the march but also hopefully genuine in their support of an immediate end to the genocide.
I mention this because I captured about four or five images of them in the middle of the procession as they passed the Westgate Street entrance to the Principality Stadium. But in the many hundreds of images I took those were the only ones they really featured in.
However in the WalesOnline gallery, which there were two versions of, they featured in all five in the first and four from five in the second.
Yesterday I took the view they were just concerned humanitarians waving banners to let Cardiff know the Communist Party stands against the genocide in Gaza but, on reflection today, seeing their banners (which were really insignificant in a crowd of so many people) emblazoned across all but one of the images chosen by WalesOnline, I’m starting to believe there’s skulduggery afoot. Perhaps Reach, MediaWales’ master, intended to implant the notion they played a significant part in the march in readers’ subconscious thoughts or inserted them there to be used later to aim false accusations against the protest? I wouldn’t rule it out!
At the same point in the procession, on the opposite side of the road at the entrance to Quay Street, there was a lone protester dressed in army camouflage fatigues, wearing a mask and holding aloft the Union Flag. I went over to speak to him briefly to ask the purpose of his vigil.
After a short period of awkwardness we got chatting and he explained he was there to express his view that Remembrance Day was an inappropriate time for the protest to take place. He explained that in World War II and recent conflicts involving the British armed services members of his family had lost their lives.
To some extent I share his stance, having also experienced the effects of family tragedy in WW II, but I also pointed out that every day the genocide in Gaza continues hundreds more innocent children are being butchered.
We agreed this was tragic and shared many other common beliefs about the globalist agenda and I am grateful we had the opportunity to speak. As he explained to other protesters at the rally, he was standing against extremist elements in Palestine but also far-right ideology.
He was very eloquent and knowledgeable about world events and he conducted his protest in a very diplomatic and respectful manner... and had every right to do so. I hope that he, and all who spoke to him, benefited from such dialogue, which is the cornerstone of our democracy.
I later spoke to him again on Wood Street, where he was once again talking to members of Wales’ Palestinian community as they discovered they also shared many common concerns about the world and those who govern us.
Opposite the BBC Cymru building on Wood Street is the UK Government hub, Ty William Morgan, where the rally stopped for more marchers to speak about the tragedy unfolding in Gaza.
The protest then crossed to the BBC building before finishing at Central Railway Station, where security staff were taken aback by the number of protesters entering the concourse.
Thankfully the security team and police managed the protest sensibly and protesters heeded their requests to keep the entrance to the station clear to allow passengers through to the trains.
Organisers of the march expressed their determination to continue their efforts to shame the world into condemning Israel’s abhorrent campaign against Palestinian civilians and bring a ceasefire.
But for that to happen the militants have to put down their weapons and end the campaign of terror in Gaza. The chant “one, two, three, four occupation no more, five, six, seven eight Israel is a terror state” rang out throughout the day but the UK government will not condemn the genocide and steadfastly defends Israel’s right to defend itself.
But Israel is certainly not defending itself, it is pursuing a policy of ethnic cleansing and using the false-flag Hamas border incursion on 7 October to justify it. Please don’t be fooled by the propaganda. Fill out the form via the Palestine Solidarity Campaign website to let your MPs know that at Tuesday’s vote you demand they echo the Welsh Senedd and demand the genocide stops immediately.
What do we want? Ceasefire! When do we want it? Now!
About the Creator
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