Climate change group leaving city centre
A three-day protest which brought Cardiff city centre to a standstill has now ended peacefully.
Demonstrators from the Extinction Rebellion group carried out a procession from Castle Street to the lawns of City Hall earlier this afternoon, without the need for police intervention. They are expected to gradually leave that site throughout the evening.
South Wales Police has been engaging continually with the group since they based themselves – and a boat – outside Cardiff Castle on Monday morning.
Whilst the force respects their right to protest peacefully, it was made clear to the group that any prolonged or significant disruption could result in action being taken.
Chief Superintendent Steve Jones, divisional commander for Cardiff, said: “Our officers have worked tirelessly to facilitate a peaceful protest while balancing the needs and rights of the wider public who live, work or visit Cardiff city centre.
“We have had complete sympathy for those who have been considerably inconvenienced by the protests, and we have worked closely with local authority partners to try and ensure that disruption was kept to a minimum.
“While we were given notice of the planned cycle along Newport Road on Monday morning, Extinction Rebellion Cardiff did not give us prior notice of any other plans, therefore it has been difficult to keep the public as informed as we would have liked.
“However, we are well-accustomed to closing roads in the city centre for other events as well as facilitating protests. Experience has shown us that maintaining a controlled protest in one area is preferable to a more widely dispersed event, and we have been working to engage with the group since they arrived in order to achieve this.
“The group were advised from the beginning that any prolonged protest would have an impact on policing resources as well as the wider public, and protesters were left in no doubt that any disorder , intimidation or antisocial behaviour would not be tolerated.
“We are pleased that those warnings were heeded and that they chose to leave without the need for enforcement action, and we are extremely grateful to the wider public for their patience and understanding during the disruption.”
A spokesperson for the group said: "We have successfully blocked the streets because we care deeply about Wales and the world, and couldn't see another option that would get this level of interest.
"Over just a few days of this bold action we have achieved mass public awareness and discussion, numerous media headlines, supportive statements from politicians including a local MP (Anna McMorrin MP, Cardiff North) in the House of Commons and the recruitment of many new people to Extinction Rebellion, who are committed to joining us in the next international rebellion in the Autumn.
"As we left the site, we formed a procession behind the green boat called Margoth Escobar - named after an Ecuadorian environmental and indigenous rights defender - to the City Hall.
"Welsh Assembly Members will join us at 18:30 outside Cardiff city hall this evening to discuss how Wales can Act Now on the climate and ecological emergency.
"We thank the police, the council, local businesses, and the public for their support."