South West Wales

Llanelli rally for Prince Philip Hospital and 1911 riot

A march and rally commemorating the shooting of two workers 101 years ago was also a demonstration in support of Llanelli's main hospital.

About 80 people turned out for the event in the Carmarthenshire town.

Hywel Dda Health Board has proposed that A&E should be replaced by an accident centre staffed by nurses.

Labour AM Keith Davies said the board must listen to the public, but if there is no choice but to downgrade, he wants doctors in charge rather than nurses.

But Plaid Cymru councillor Pete Hughes Griffiths urged Health Minister Lesley Griffiths to force the health board to change course.

Saturday's march began at Llanelli railway station, before heading to the town centre for the rally. The march finished at the cemetery to lay two wreaths in memory of the two workers shot dead by the Army in 1911.

It followed earlier demonstrations which saw hundreds at the Welsh assembly.

The 1911 Llanelli Riot saw the army shoot during a railway workers' strike.


Saturday's demonstration was organised by Llanelli Trades Council, which held a protest in February against the health board's proposals.

The trades council also holds a march and rally to mark the anniversary of what some call Llanelli's "forgotten" riot, as it was overshadowed by the Tonypandy riots a year earlier.

Speaking before the march, committee secretary John Willock said the day also backed the call for services to remain at Prince Philip.

He said: "We want to save our NHS.

Image caption The march and rally marks the violent events in gather in Llanelli in August 1911 as as well a campaigns against proposed changes at Prince Philip Hospital

"We're combining the rally with protests against public service cuts, especially at Prince Philip, as well as anywhere else."

Hywel Dda Health Board said its proposals for would also see Prince Philip Hospital become a specialist centre for orthopaedic and dementia care.

Its proposals are currently out for consultation.

Mr Willock said the annual rally was planned to mark the 1911 riot as a way to campaign for "social justice".

What started out as a peaceful strike by railway workers on 17 August, 1911 turned within two days into violence, destruction and deaths after a bayonet charge and the shooting of two unarmed men by the Army.

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