A memorial commemorating the lives of some of the Chartists has been vandalised, just days before the 182nd anniversary of the historic uprising.

The memorial is at the entrance of Newport Cathedral – the location where 10 of the Chartists who died after being shot outside Westgate Hotel at the culmination of the march on November 4, 1839, are buried in unmarked graves – and was vandalised last night between 7.30pm and 8.45pm.

The National Wales: The graffiti on the Chartist memorial at Newport CathedralThe graffiti on the Chartist memorial at Newport Cathedral

Ian Black, deacon of Newport Cathedral, said: “A member of the public said they walked past around 7.30pm and it wasn’t there, and I spotted it when I left around 8.45pm. It must have been done while we were holding our All-Souls Day service for people to remember their loved ones who have died.

“What makes it particularly distressing is that Thursday is the anniversary of the Chartists being shot outside Westgate Hotel. On Thursday evening there will be a gathering of people including MPs, Senedd members, the mayor and more to remember the Chartists.

“On Saturday we are also hosting a conference which is about the Chartists.

“It also comes at a time when there is violence against politicians and those who speak out. I don’t know if it was to do with that or if it was just because the memorial had space they could use.”

The National Wales: A drawing of the Chartists in Newport on November 4, 1839A drawing of the Chartists in Newport on November 4, 1839

This morning, the graffiti was cleaned off the memorial by Newport City Council.

“I am very pleased and thankful,” said Mr Black. “I had an email from them last night which said they would try and get it cleaned this morning and they did – it was gone by 8am.”

On November 4, 1839, hundreds of people marched to Westgate Hotel in Newport, led by John Frost, more than 20 died outside of the Westgate Hotel. Each year the Newport Rising Festival commemorates the fight for rights that these men from across Gwent fought for.

The National Wales: Newport City Council cleaned the graffiti from the memorialNewport City Council cleaned the graffiti from the memorial

A spokesman for Newport City Council said: “The council swiftly removed graffiti on the Chartist memorial at Newport Cathedral this morning after it was reported to us.

“We take the issue of graffiti seriously and have recently employed a dedicated graffiti enforcement officer to help tackle graffiti across the city.

“Residents and businesses can report graffiti on public land directly to the council through our website.”

A spokesman for Gwent Police said: “We received a report of criminal damage at Newport Cathedral at around 9.10pm on Tuesday, November 2, after an unknown person reportedly spray painted a memorial statue.”

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