Occupy Cardiff protesters asked to leave castle site

Nick Palit reports that the bad weather led to a reduction of the number of protesters by nightfall

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Protesters who have set up an Occupy Cardiff camp as part of a global movement against banking and big business have been asked to leave.

The group had met in the city centre before crossing the road and pitching their tents outside Cardiff Castle.

South Wales Police have told them to move as they are breaking by-laws, leading to a stand-off.

Up to 100 people were involved at one stage but, by the evening, around 30 people remained outside the castle.

Cardiff council, which has expressed fears about damage to the castle grounds, has also asked the protesters to move on.

The group is now considering whether to move to a new location.

Earlier, a leaflet was handed out to shoppers calling for a new type of economy.

FROM THE SCENE - Nick Palit BBC Wales reporter

Nick Palit

"They gathered at the Aneurin Bevan statue at 14:00 GMT. Word quickly spread through social media and the numbers swelled to around 100 protesters at one stage.

"After a couple of speeches, they crossed the road to the lawn in front of the castle. Nine tents were erected and the protesters held banners with slogans such as 'poverty has never been so profitable' and 'we are the 99%'.

"A few of the protesters were wearing masks. There was a bit of a standoff with the police who said they were breaking a city public health by-law dating back to 1875 but there was no confrontation.

"Some said they had already taken part in similar protests in London and Bristol. There are around 12 police officers at the scene led by an inspector - but it's very low key.

"The number of protesters has now dropped. It's started raining and the Christmas lights have switched on above their heads."

It read: "This historic and unprecedented uprising and resistance to the inequality of our social system is nothing less than a lifeline for humanity.

"We must convert this dissent into a satisfying result.

"The monetary market system itself must be replaced with a resource-based economic model where everyone's needs are provided for free."

A meeting under the Aneurin Bevan statue in Queen Street had been organised before the group moved towards the castle nearby.

The protester said they had no leader. They told reporters at the scene they had set up a "forum" and if anyone wanted to speak, they would be allowed to.

Banners

Representatives of the Welsh Language Society, Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, were also present with a large banner.

Policing was reported to be low key with around a dozen uniformed officers. A mobile command vehicle was parked in Castle Street.

As darkness fell, the number of protesters was reported to have dropped to around 60.

Protest at Cardiff A leaflet was handed out to shoppers calling for a new type of economy

Leaflets were being handed out to passers-by which read: "This historic and unprecedented uprising and resistance to the inequality of our social system is nothing less than a lifelife for humanity".

"We must convert this dissent into a satisfying result. The market system itself must be replaced with a resource-based economic model where everyone's needs are provided for free," it continued.

A call for a Occupy Cardiff protest had been made via social media in recent days.

Anti-capitalist protesters have been camping outside St Paul's Cathedral in London since 15 October.

Similar camps have been set up elsewhere in the UK as part of the Occupy movement, which has spread from New York since September.

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