Yet another Welsh independence march has attracted crowds of around 10,000 people, showing the growing strength of feeling over the issue. On Saturday 23 September, YesCymru and All Under One Banner (AUOB) Cymru’s sixth March for Independence was held in the city of Bangor.
Welsh independence movement out in force again
As the Canary has previously reported, people have been holding independence marches in Wales for several years. One in October 2022 attracted around 10,000 people. It appears that support for independence has been growing as time goes by. In 2019, around 21% of people supported an independent Wales. Now, the latest polling shows this is up to 33%.
With that in mind, the YesCymru/AUOBCymru march on 23 September was a well-attended and colourful display of Welsh cultural identity:
🏴 Ein dyfodol ni. Ein #annibyniaeth ni!
🏴 Our future. Our independence!
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— Rhun ap Iorwerth (@RhunapIorwerth) September 23, 2023
It was also a strong call for people to join the independence movement:
10,000 ❤️🏴 pic.twitter.com/glXOQXQgHW
— YesCymru 🏴 (@YesCymru) September 23, 2023
People marched through the streets of Bangor:
— Rhian Tomos (@Tomos882) September 23, 2023
As the Canary previously reported, a 10-metre-long red dragon, created by the artist-led organisation Small World Theatre, was leading them:
— David Jones (@deijos1) September 23, 2023
After the march, the crowd listened to speeches in the shadow of the city’s Cathedral. These included video messages of support from vice president of Sinn Féin and the first minister designate in the North of Ireland Michelle O’Neill, and Dolors Feliu, President of the ANC (Assemblea Nacional Catalana).
Wales: ‘on a journey to its rightful place in the world’
Plaid Cymru leader Rhun ap Iorwerth said in his speech:
Once, the idea of independence was ridiculed, but now it is a prominent part of our national political discourse. I am convinced that only the people of Wales can build a fairer nation, and spur us to be much more ambitious in order to secure the future of our children and grandchildren.
While the forces of Westminster are trying their best to stop us, they cannot stop a nation that is on a journey towards its rightful place in the world. And we all need to talk and discuss the potential of independence with our friends and colleagues who show curiosity. Convincing them that independence is the only way to ensure success for this part of the earth that is so dear to us all.
Actress Sera Cracroft also addressed the crowd, adding:
The March for Independence was an unforgettable event. The Dragon is a symbol of our fiery spirit and our unwavering commitment to an independent Wales. We are all determined that Wales is given the right to shape its own path towards independence and create a better country for all.
Following the rally, an afternoon of folk singing was held at Tafarn y Glôb in Upper Bangor. Meanwhile the ‘Independence Gig’ in Pontio – featuring Fleur De Lys, Tara Bandito, 3 Hwr Doeth, and Maes Parcio – sold out:
Y band cyntaf yn gig fawr annibyniaeth Bangor – Maes Parcio.
First band of the Bangor indy gig is now on – Maes Parcio. Come on down!
— YesCymru 🏴 (@YesCymru) September 23, 2023
Beware the yoons
Overall, CEO of YesCymru Gwern Gwynfil summed the situation up in Nation.Cymru:
one in three in Wales in favour of independence, up from one in ten just a decade ago. A trend which comfortably puts us on two in three in favour within another decade.
Some data also suggests that there are a further one in four in Wales already supportive of independence but only if Scotland becomes independent…
But why wait? Why do we in Wales have to seek Scottish consent to support our own independence? Are we so downtrodden that we need a guide to point us in the direction we know we should be going? If you are one of the quarter of the population who would reassess support for independence if Scotland leaves, reassess it now – what Scotland does should not impact your decisions about your future and your nation. Why wait? The UK is diminishing rapidly, it offers Wales nothing.
Of course, the challenge with any nation’s independence from the UK is the Westminster government and its associated ‘yoons’. As we’ve seen in Scotland, any attempt by the people to have autonomy from the UK will be actively opposed. So, Welsh independence is a long way off yet. However, the turnout in Bangor is a good indication of the direction of travel Wales is currently headed in.
Featured image via YesCymru/AUOBcymru, and additional images via Andy Clarke
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