Protest turnout “disappointing” but fight continues

Protestors gathered at the MidMad festival wearing masks of Hewson and Martin's faces.

Protestors gathered at the MidMad festival wearing masks of Hewson and Martin’s faces.

THE ABERYSTWYTH Arts Centre Action group have expressed their disappointment at the “poor turnout” for the protests during the University’s open day ‘Access All Areas’, which was held on the 22nd June.

However, protest organiser Jane Lloyd-Francis said “the fight for justice” concerning the suspension of the recently retired Arts Centre director Alan Hewson and Operations Manager Auriel Martin would continue, with more protests planned for the future.

Around 90 protesters took part in the first demonstration, silently blocking the road by walking back and forth over zebra crossings at the entrance to campus. The Facebook event originally showed that organisers had hoped for 1,000 protestors in total.

Organiser Carol Nixon told protesters to “passively resist any security requests to move from the road” during the ten-minute protest which began just after 11am.

Placards were held during the blockade, including one reading “Suspend April McMahon”.

The second protest took place during the 13th staging of annual music festival “MidMad”. Protesters wore masks of Hewson and Martins’ faces to “show remembrance” for the suspended workers, who helped organise the festival.

First run in 2000, the festival was set up to give thanks to the town (according to Lloyd-Francis). Protesters were then asked to hang the masks around the Arts Centre by organiser Lynne Dickens, in order to “keep their faces in the public eye”.

Speaking afterwards, Lloyd-Francis said the low turnout at the first demonstration could have been down to a number of factors: the retirement of Hewson, people wanting to turn up in the afternoon to protest during the musical festival, and confusion that may have arisen due to claims that the protest had been cancelled.

It is understood that Martin’s disciplinary hearing is scheduled to start soon.

You can find a full gallery of the day’s events below.

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