Campaigners chain themselves to government gates in Aberystwyth

MEMBERS of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg (Welsh Language Society) chained themselves to the government office gates here in Aberystywth from 6:00 to 10:30 this morning, insisting that First Minister Carwyn Jones take action because the language is in “crisis”. Although they were there before some 400 employees arrives, the campaigners did not disrupt people from passing through.

Photo taken by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

Photo taken by Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg

The group revealed that this protest was one in a series planned, with a spokesman for the society saying that the Welsh government was being slow to act.

Over the weekend, the group unveiled banners on bridges across Wales, from Menai bridge to the Severn bridge, launching what they are calling ‘symbolic campaigns’ in a new period of putting pressure on the Labour Government.

On behalf of Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, Cen Llwyd commented:

“We’re fed up of waiting for a clear and firm response from Carwyn Jones. Everyone sensible has accepted that the language faces a crisis, but the Government still isn’t doing anything.

“We continue to hope we will see positive change, because with political will, the language could thrive over the years to come. Well over a year since the Census results, the lack of Government action is laughable.”

Society Chairman Robin Farrar added: “I’m very proud to be able to stand with students today – together we represent the wish of the present generation, and those to come, to live in Welsh and to see action so that happens. For over a year, we have written letters, held meetings, taken part in conferences and endless conversations with the Government.

“With our civil disobedience, we are calling on Carwyn Jones and his government to take progressive and constructive steps to ensure everyone gets to live in Welsh.”

On the protest, UMCA President Mared Ifan told ASM that UMCA’s last General Meeting saw it passed that the society would support the official campaign by Cymdeithas yr Iaith.

Mared said: “We feel that the Government’s response has been poor and following the disappointing census results, which show a worrying decline in Welsh speakers across Wales, and that the number of Welsh speakers here in Ceredigion fell to under 50% for the first time in the Census’ history; it is clear that people are unhappy with the Government’s inaction.

“That’s why I, as UMCA President, fully support this peaceful protest this morning and I also call on Carwyn Jones to act now before time runs out to save the Welsh language.”

Dyfed-Powys Police confirmed that they were aware of the protest, and stated: “The role of the police is to ensure the rights of all parties involved are protected. It is the intention to allow peaceful protest whilst minimizing disruption to members of the public. The local policing team are prepared to manage the event accordingly should the need arise.”

The next event is due to take place at the end of the month in Caernarfon to question the sustainable development plan of Anglesey and Gwynedd County Councils as to whether they meet the needs of Welsh communities.

A slideshow of some of the campaigns organised by the society to raise awareness is found below:

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