Welsh first minister says people have right to protest during King Charles visit – The Guardian

Mark Drakeford calls for policing to be proportionate, as silent demonstration planned in Cardiff
The Welsh first minister has said that anti-monarchists have a right to protest in Cardiff when King Charles visits the Welsh capital on Friday on the last leg of his tour of the four nations, but called for them to be restrained.
Mark Drakeford also made it clear that he did not expect there to be an extravagant investiture for William, the new Prince of Wales, but said he thought he could play an important role in Welsh life.
The Labour first minister said that while nobody would expect William to suddenly become fluent in Welsh, he believed he would “want to recognise” its importance in shaping modern life in Wales.
A silent anti-monarchist demonstration is due to begin from 1pm at Cardiff Castle, organised under the banner “Real Democracy Now”.
Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, Drakeford said: “People have a legitimate right to protest and there are a variety of views. Myself, I don’t think this is the week in which that debate needs to surface. But people have that right and I think it will be exercised with restraint and it will be a footnote to the dominant feelings of the day.”
He called for the policing of the protest to be proportionate. “It should recognise the rights that people have. I’ve every confidence in the South Wales police, who have dealt with this sort of event many times. They will deal proportionately with protest, making sure those rights are respected but that those rights don’t interfere with what most people will have come to Cardiff today to exercise.”
The King’s visit is taking place on Owain Glyndŵr Day, a celebration of the life and legacy of the last Welshman to be known as Prince of Wales. Many nationalists and republicans see the title as a symbol of English oppression and more than 27,000 people have signed a petition calling for it to be abolished.
Charles’s investiture in 1969 as Prince of Wales led to protests.
Asked if there would be a grand ceremony for William, Drakeford said: “The Wales of 2022 is very different to the Wales of 1969.” He said he did not expect the pattern of the 1969 ceremony to be used.
“I don’t think that would be the right way to go about things. I think the new Prince of Wales will want to take time to establish himself in that role, to work out where he can make the most contribution to creating the successful Wales of the future and there will be plenty of time to think about when and how a more formal marking of that new role could be undertaken.”
He continued: “I have had one conversation with the new Prince of Wales. We didn’t directly talk about the investiture but he did say to me he wanted to take on his new responsibilities slowly, that he wanted to give time for his own knowledge of Wales and the things that matter in the Wales of today to be fully established, for him to think about where his own contribution could most powerfully be made and I thought that was very sensible.”
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Drakeford said the new prince’s interest in the environment could dovetail with Wales’ aspirations. “Wales’ future lies in the contribution we can make in the renewable energy revolution the globe needs,” he said.
The first minister said nobody expected William to suddenly be fluent in Welsh. “Nobody is expecting miracles,” he said. But he added: “The Welsh language is a very important part of Wales spoken by thousands of people every day. It’s not necessarily the easiest language to acquire later on. I’m quite sure the incoming Prince of Wales will want to recognise the importance of the Welsh language and the part it plays in shaping contemporary Wales.”
Crowds gathered outside Llandaff Cathedral ahead of the King’s visit. King Charles and Camilla, the Queen Consort, will travel to Wales by helicopter where they will attend a service of prayer and reflection at the cathedral.
The couple will then go to the Senedd, where they will receive condolences and meet members of the Welsh parliament. From there they will travel to Cardiff castle where Charles will hold a private audience with Drakeford.


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