Thousands of people have taken part in an unprecedented protest march through the capital of Wales, Cardiff, demanding independence from the British rule.
Nearly 5,000 people attended the first ever national protest for self-rule on Saturday to express their outrage for being neglected by what they referred to as the “London elite” and insisting that Wales would thrive as a small, independent nation, Press TV reported.
Wales was invaded, occupied and colonized by the British in several wars since about 1,000 years ago and was forced into a union with England in the 16th century.
The territory has become part of the United Kingdom, which includes Scotland and Northern Ireland, but is dominated by England. Wales has a separate language, culture and traditions that are different from the rest of the United Kingdom but has become anglicized over the past century.
Addressing the crowd of protesters, Adam Price, leader of the Welsh independence party, Plaid Cymru, said: “Wales is not a poor country. We are an energy powerhouse, the fifth largest electricity exporter in the world, we have 15 per cent of Europe’s entire wave and tidal power potential, and in our water we have a valuable resource which will be the oil of the 21st century.”
He then reminded the crowd of the growing problems inflicted on the Welsh population, adding: “But for all this great potential a third of our children and a quarter of adults in Wales are living in poverty. We have the highest rate of imprisonment of any country in Western Europe. One in every 74 people in this city are homeless.”
“This is the legacy that has been bequeathed to us by the British state and that’s what we have to reject,” Adam further underlined.
One of the protesters told Press TV reporter: “Wales has been too poor, too long but we want Wales to be wealthy in culture, language and economics. We have always been neglected by Westminster – they extract our resources and use them for their own benefit so we need independence.”
Another stated, “I believe we will be better off independent because we won’t have London deciding who rules us. We are the poorest country in Western Europe despite our profitable economy because London takes our resources. It’s imperialism.”
The development came as local support for independence in Wales currently stands at an estimated 20 percent of its population. While many Welsh people may express their desire for independence, majority of them believe that Wales is too small a nation to survive on its own.
While the independence movement does acknowledge major challenges that it needs to overcome, it also points out that the UK’s Brexit problems have encouraged independence movements in Scotland and Ireland and therefore the future is on its side.
This is while British lawmakers have persistently rejected any independence movements anywhere within the United Kingdom, although they often support separatist movements and insurgencies in other parts of the world.