A new campaign called “Free Wales in Europe“/ Cymru Rydd yn Ewrop” held simultaneous rallies in Cardiff and Caernarfon yesterday demanding that Wales should remain in the E.U.
The movement is reported to have been founded by a branch of the “Yes Cymru” campaign in association with Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (the Welsh Language Society) and appeared to want to overturn the result of last week’s referendum in Wales in which 52.5% of those who voted in Wales, voted to leave the E U.
In the Caernarfon rally the former Plaid Cymru leader Lord Dafydd Wigley said the Wales football team had shown how well Wales could perform in a European setting.
He called for an independent future within Europe for Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales and said “I hope that there will be another opportunity at some point in future for Wales to vote for Wales to be part of Europe”
However the former Secretary of State for Wales David Jones who is Conservative MP for Clwyd West (and who had campaigned for Leave) said that what Free Wales in Europe was campaigning for was unrealistic. He said “Wales voted decisively for Britain to leave the European Union on the 23rd of June and for people to call for any other arrangement is profoundly undemocratic.” “Frankly” he said ” these demonstrators should respect the will of the people.”
Posters for the event had said :-
“Following the disappointment of the referendum on Europe, we must respond. Let’s remember and celebrate who we are in this Free Wales in Europe Rally. This is an opportunity to declare that the result doesn’t reflect who we truly are, or what we believe. That Wales is not a small region of England, but an independent, progressive country in Europe. A separate country with our own rights and principles, supporting social justice for all. This is a rally for supporters of Wales and for those of us who wanted to stay in Europe. Bring flags. And wear something red! Together Stronger? Not just on the football pitch. We have to do this together.”
At both the rallies Welsh Dragon flags and the ancient flag of St David (a black flag with a yellow cross) were displayed
The name of the movement, “Free Wales in Europe”, carries perhaps unfortunate echoes of the former Welsh Nationalist terrorist movement the “Free Wales Army” of the 1960s – whose armed members paraded in home-made uniforms and claimed they could deploy 20 trained “kamikaze” suicide-dogs trained to wear harnesses carrying explosives.