Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday to spread ‘peace, love, kindness and compassion’ in Llantwit Major after far-right groups arrived in the town to protest the housing of Ukrainian refugees in the former Eagleswell School site.
Those gathering created banners, and signs and chanted along, making clear their support for the housing of refugees in the area. Banners seen in the crowd included, ”Llantwit Major, Refugees Welcome, Fascists Not!”, ”Llantwit says yes to kindness, love and justice for everyone”, and ”The heart of democracy beats here.”
A two-minute silence was held in the town square to honour those who lives were lost to fascism. It was said to be in memory of those who suffered, ‘abuse, oppression, racism, fascism and unhappiness.’
Afterwards, a march was held through the town leading to the location of the far-right protest. Where locals offered out Welsh cakes as part of their ‘Big Welsh Cake welcome.’ As people walked through the town together, those involved carried tins of Welsh cakes, offering them out to anyone passing. A wreath was also placed in respect.
”Which is about showing the love of our community and it is about showing in that love and kindness we can deal with our issue democracy, and we don’t need people stirring up hate and division, we are better than that,” said Liv Phillips.
Sarah Barton said, ”I am so immensely proud of my town.”
Plans for the day’s events began in the community group Llantwit 24, Together in Kindness. Members discussed their concerns about the dangers that far-right groups could bring and decided on a peaceful way to show the town’s objections to the protest. 2000 leaflets were distributed to inform local residents of the day’s event.
One of the organisers of the counter-protest was Richard Parry. Parry took to the streets of Llantwit Major dressed as a giant Welsh cake.
”I am six foot two tall, and around me, I am wearing a seven-foot Welsh cake,” said Parry.
Community members celebrated the success of the day online.
”What an amazing day! A real coming together of community. Truly inspiring and uplifting. Well done all.”, one member said.
”Thank you for all your hard work, I have seen tears of joy because of the turnout. And outflow of kindness. Fantastic!!!”, another member added.
At the protest, there was a small group of around 20 far-right protesters. They were heavily outnumbered by that counter-protesting and left shortly after 1 pm.