This was very different from the earlier and much publicised Patriotic Alternative (PA) gathering in Knowsley, where regrettably the far right was able to outflank a counter demo. In Llantwit Major, Cymru/Wales, PA and their supporters failed to mobilise local people in opposition to plans to build temporary homes for refugees on the site of a closed primary school. As a result, they were roughly 400 to 15 outnumbered.
Additionally, the counter demonstration included more locals than just Stand Up To Racism and People’s Assembly Wales and was representative of local sentiment. This is vital to efforts to robustly resist organisations such as PA, who are ultimately opportunists preying on the weaknesses of solidarity.
Many shops had Llantwit Major Against Racism posters in their windows. A local church had a big sign proclaiming “Jesus Was A Refugee.” A multi-faith vigil was held in the town the night before the protest. Llantwit Major Football Club, who were playing Afan Lido FC on Saturday afternoon, came out in support of the anti-fascist demo, posting a statement on social media that read: “Racism, xenophobia, and discrimination have no place in Llantwit”. Both clubs dedicated their game to “Show Racism the Red Card.”
Father Edwin Counsell, a former punk turned priest, Jack, the DJ at the football club, and even the head of the town’s knitting club all gave their support. Other locals made Welsh Cakes, which are a traditional sign of hospitality in Wales and were given to the participants. And one person was dressed in a giant Welsh cake costume while playing Calon Lan on a trumpet!
Overall, it was a remarkably good day for the anti-racist and anti-fascist forces and a big defeat for Patriotic Alternative’s politics of division, despair, and hate.
While Anti*Capitalist Resistance was unable to get anyone to the latest demos, hopefully we can encourage supporters to the next independence march in Swansea/Abertawe on May 20, as well as to future demos against PA’s dehumanising racist and anti-queer stunts.
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