News from Celtic Press
Members of the Celtic League attended an anti monarchy rally in London last weekend (Sunday 3rd June).
The protest, organised by anti monarchy campaign group Republic, was billed as the biggest republican protest in London in modern times. The venue of the protest was the south side of Tower Bridge, in preparation for the moment when Elisabeth II passed the end point on her barge tour of the Thames, as part of her Jubilee celebrations. The general secretary of the League, Rhisiart Tal-e-bot, who took his 5 year old daughter to the protest, said:
“This is an issue I feel strongly about, as do many of our members. I am a committed republican and Republic did a fantastic job at organising the rally. The speakers were persuasive and varied and the event was attended by a diverse range of people, which shows that the republican movement is a popular and growing one.”
Mr Tal-e-bot, who was in contact with the Chief Executive of Republic, Graham Smith, ahead of the protest, told members of the branch that Republic was planning to travel to Cornwall in the near future to meet interested parties who were keen on lobbying against the activities of the Duke of Cornwall. There is a Scottish and Welsh Republic movement, but the situation in Cornwall is a little more complicated due to the distinct constitutional situation of the Cornish nation.
The day following the protest Mr Tal-e-bot was interviewed live on Source FM in Cornwall to talk about how the protest went. Speaking on the radio Mr Tal-e-bot said:
“Unfortunately the police confiscated the Republic’s banners and megaphones and then cordoned off the area where the protesters were gathering, so that no one else could join the core protesters. The core protest numbered approximately 2-250 people, but away from the banks of the Thames a parallel protest on the road attracted an additional 1000 people.”
Flying the new Celtic League flag as part of the protest, Mr Tal-e-bot commented that it attracted a lot of attention, but was surprised at how few people recognised the Celtic flags.
“I was pleased not to see any Saltire’s flying in the crowds of red, white and blue unionist flag wavers, but I did unfortunately spot a couple of Y Ddraig Goch’s [Welsh flag]. The Union Jack flag is quite intimidating when you are surrounded by thousands of them being flown by die hard loyalists.”
League member Phil Tanner, who also attended the protest said, “Some people were aggressive towards us, but what I couldn’t get over was when people began booing us when we chanted ‘You say Monarchy, we say democracy!’ I mean, what is all that about?”
Human rights campaigner Peter Tarchell and journalist Joan Smith were two of a number of people who addressed protesters during the five hour protest. Video footage of the day can be found on Celtic League TV.
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The Celtic League has branches in the six Celtic Countries. It works to promote cooperation between these countries and campaigns on a broad range of political, cultural and environmental matters. It highlights human rights abuse, monitors all military activity and focuses on socio-economic issues.