Hundreds of people have been condemned after breaking Covid rules to party outside the Welsh parliament in Cardiff on Friday night.
People gathered on the steps of the Senedd in Cardiff Bay and were filmed drinking, singing and chanting. One account described it as an “illegal rave”. Rules in Wales mean that only six people from two different households can meet outdoors.
Footage showed police officers moving in to clear people from steps in front of the parliament at about 1am on Saturday, with masses of litter piled around partiers.
The Welsh first minister, Mark Drakeford, said he was shocked by the scenes and amount of rubbish left.
“I’ve seen the photographs and I’ve seen the accounts on television, and to be honest that is shocking,” he told BBC Radio Wales.
“I’ve been a strong supporter of the police’s approach in Wales of inform, educate and persuade, and that is absolutely the right thing to do first.
“Where people deliberately and intentionally set out to do things that can cause a risk to other people, then both local authority and police have powers that they can use.”
A similar gathering took place during the warm weather earlier in the week and three police officers suffered minor injuries, according to South Wales police.
Cardiff council said a significant amount of litter had been left by the revellers. “Once again our teams have been faced with the huge task of cleaning up a significant amount of rubbish left behind by large groups of people intent on breaking Covid-19 restrictions,” a spokesman said.
“Last night, bins were left unused and the ground was littered with rubbish. Council staff have been on site since the early hours of the morning, working hard to clear and clean the area.
“Despite the preventative measures put in place by the council, in partnership with South Wales police, the Welsh government’s coronavirus regulations were again broken by a significant number of people illegally gathering in Cardiff Bay.”
Drakeford said he was worried that the progress Wales was making in controlling the spread of coronavirus could be undone by people ignoring the rules.
“I am concerned because when you see those scenes then it does tell us that there is a small minority of people in Wales who still somehow believe that coronavirus doesn’t mean them,” he added.