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Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Anti-racism group furious after MAS Carnival snub (Wlaes, UK)

Members of a Welsh anti-racism group say they are furious after their invite to participate in the weekend’s MAS parade was withdrawn at the last minute.

Cardiff Communities Against Racism was formed earlier this year in response to a march by the far-right English Defence League in the city in June.

Creator of the group Ross Saunders was contacted by South Wales Intercultural Community Arts (SIWCA), which organises the annual MAS carnival and invited them to participate.

But Cardiff council said yesterday that the group were asked not to come because the carnival “is not a vehicle for political protest”.

Spokesman for Cardiff Communities Against Racism Joe Fathallah said the group’s ethos was to bring communities in Cardiff together, which, he said, was what the MAS carnival is about.

“SIWCA said they would like to have us along on the parade,” he said.

“We made a banner and printed leaflets so people knew what we were about. We put in a lot of time and effort, but on Friday morning we had a phone call telling us that the council wouldn’t allow us to come along to the parade.

“They claimed it would be against the ethos of the carnival and politicise the event.”

The MAS carnival, which was first created in 1990 by SIWCA, celebrates the cultural diversity of South Wales.

A Cardiff council spokesperson said: “While Cardiff council supports the sentiments behind Cardiff Communities Against Racism, the inclusion of any non-performance group or organisation would change the whole artistic ethos of the carnival

“The MAS carnival is a multicultural community arts project that celebrates the diversity and multiculturalism of Cardiff. It is not a vehicle for political protest.

“However, we would be pleased to listen to any ideas Cardiff Communities Against Racism may have regarding promoting racial tolerance in our capital city.”

Wales Online