‘There is hope’: Thousands from Wales join million-strong Brexit protest

Thousands of people from Wales joined the million-strong People’s Vote March through London yesterday. They travelled hundreds of miles to convey one message to the Government – the need for a final say on Brexit.

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Thousands of Welsh people are reported to have joined yesterday’s million-strong Put it to the People March through central London to demand a second Brexit referendum.

Twenty-three official coaches left from across Wales yesterday morning, in addition to individuals making their own way to London on trains and buses, to demand a final say on Brexit.

Passions were high among the crowd which gathered in Hyde Park at 11am, with many draped in Welsh and EU flags.

“I don’t want us to become an insular, backward country,” said Silas Jones, who travelled from St Asaph to join the march for a people’s vote.

Over a million people marched peacefully through the streets of London yesterday to demand a public vote on Brexit.

Jones was joined by a group of fellow Welsh protesters from all corners of the country who met each other on the march.

“I want to be a European in Europe,” said Llinos, originally from the Vale of Clwyd but now living in Cardiff.

“I moved from North Wales to be in a city because it’s more diverse,” Llinos said.

Among the group, concerns over the future of the Welsh language and culture were playing on everyone’s minds.

Llinos (left) and Silas (right) met each other at Hyde Park yesterday and began marching together. Both are concerned about the impact of Brexit on the Welsh language.

“Bilingualism is important to me, and it’s easier to be bilingual among other bilingual nations,” said Llinos, who has a Swiss husband.

“I used to work on a [Welsh] language project, where 70% of the funding came from the EU,” said Silas Jones.

Jones is particularly concerned about the impact Brexit would have on Welsh farming, and the knock-on effect that would have on future rural communities and the Welsh language.

“Farming [in North Wales] is seriously under threat from Brexit, and farming communities in Gwynedd and Conwy are the backbone of the language,” Jones said.

‘Thousands’ of people from Wales joined yesterday’s march in London, according to MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty.

Despite the worry, marchers were in high spirits all afternoon, singing and dancing along the route.

“There is hope,” said Simon, who travelled with his wife Linda from Monmouth to join the march, pointing to the growing petition to revoke Article 50 (which currently has nearly 5 million signatures).

“Now we know what Brexit is going to be like, we need another vote,” he added.

“We are here to demand a People’s Vote”: Simon and Linda travelled from Monmouth to London to take part in the March.

One of those travelling was MP for Cardiff South and Penarth, Stephen Doughty, who tweeted on his way to London that he was joining ‘thousands’ of other Welsh people making their way to the march in central London.

“We demand a final say on Brexit,” said Doughty, who has been an ardent campaigner for a second referendum alongside fellow Cardiff Labour MPs Anna McMorrin, Jo Stevens and Kevin Brennan.

Welsh marchers, who gathered in droves at Hyde Park bandstand before joining the main protest, were also joined by one of the more eye-catching individuals in London yesterday.

EU Elvis, originally from Ebbw Vale, cycled along the route full of song and with the flags of Wales, the UK and the EU flying behind him as he made his way through the crowd.

“I don’t think we should be leaving all of our neighbours in Europe, they’re a wonderful set of countries,” said Elvis.

Brexit elvis photo by Sian Burkitt
EU Elvis, originally from Ebbw Vale, cycled through London to a musical soundtrack yesterday. He featured in the Independent’s ‘best costumes from the Brexit protest’ list.

The Welsh contingent joined the main march at midday as they made their way along Park Lane, through Trafalgar Square and toward Downing Street and Parliament Square.

Organisers estimated that over a million people joined the march and the Metropolitan Police put the figure as high as two million.

The official People’s Vote UK event ended at 16:30 but hundreds of thousands of people continued the party along Whitehall and Trafalgar Square late into the evening.

Those who marched will be keeping a keen eye on events in Parliament this week as Theresa May attempts to pass her Brexit deal through the House of Commons for a third time.

The possibility of a second referendum on Brexit remains uncertain at the moment, however Chancellor Philip Hammond has commented this morning that a second vote “deserves to be considered.”