Thousands march in Cardiff calling for Welsh independence

Thousands march in Cardiff calling for Welsh independence

Rally by campaigners, who say Westminster government does not serve nation’s best interests, is second in a few months

Welsh independence campaigners in the centre of Cardiff

Thousands of people have marched through Cardiff as part of a rally for Welsh independence.

Campaigners at the event carried large flags and banners and paraded through the city centre led by a samba band. It was organised by All Under One Banner Cymru (AUOB) and Yes Cymru. It was the second pro-independence rally to take place in Wales this year, after a march attracted about 8,000 supporters in Wrexham in July.

The AUOB and Yes Cymru are campaigning for independence from the United Kingdom, as they believe Westminster does not operate with the best interests of the Welsh people in mind.

Despite rail strikes across the UK, organisers estimated about 10,000 people made it to the march – at the front of which was a banner saying “Annibyniaeth”, meaning independence in Welsh.

Protesters at the city centre march in Cardiff

After the march, which began at midday and travelled in a one and a half mile loop through Cardiff city centre, there were speeches and performances from a number of high-profile Welsh figures including Julian Lewis Jones, who plays Boremund Baratheon in the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon, actor and novelist Ffion Dafis, singer Eädyth Crawford and Irish comedian Tadhg Hickey, as well as the Plaid Cymru peer, Dafydd Wigley.

A recent YouGov poll on behalf of ITV Wales and Cardiff University found that while 14% said they did not know how they would vote in a referendum, and 52% said they would vote against independence, support for the proposition was at its highest ever.

Harriet Protheroe-Soltani from AUOB Cymru said: “Given the UK government’s recent tax cuts for the rich and continual erosion of workers’ rights it’s important, now more than ever, that people come along and demonstrate that we do not trust Westminster to look after the interests of Wales.”

Campaigners on Queen Street, Cardiff

The head of YesCymru, Gwern Gwynfil, said he wanted the march to be a “loud and joyful celebration”.

The rally followed a request from the leaders of the devolved nations for an urgent meeting with the chancellor, Kwasi Kwarteng, to discuss reversing the “damaging effects” of the UK government’s mini-budget. It was held the same day as thousands of people attended an event on Irish unification in Dublin.

The Ireland’s Future event, held at the 3arena in Dublin, attracted several thousand people who heard from politicians, members of civic society and Irish celebrities and businesspeople who discussed plans for a united Ireland.

The leaders of Sinn Féin and the SDLP, and senior figures from all of the main political parties in the Republic of Ireland, were in attendance as the deputy prime minister, Leo Varadkar, gave a speech in which he proclaimed support for a united Ireland but added that a “dream imposed by force is no dream at all”.