PROTESTERS who disrupted a council meeting discussing Wales’ new sex education curriculum have been described as “extremists” by one of Wales’ most senior political figures.  

Dafydd Elis-Thomas, who was the Llywydd of the National Assembly for Wales from its inception in 1999 to 2011 and later served as independent member of the Welsh Government, said it was a “very serious matter” that police had to be called to the Gwynedd council meeting on Thursday this week. 

The former Senedd Member and MP, who represented Gwynedd constituencies, also called for North Wales Police to take action against those involved in disrupting the meeting where councillors who spoke in favour of the policy were repeatedly heckled. 

The public gallery overlooking Gwynedd's council chamber in Caernarfon was cleared by police and councillors were held back in the chamber for “safety reasons” at the end of the highly charged meeting. 

Lord Elis-Thomas said the policy had been approved by “all members” of the then National Assembly and said the actions of those opposing it stood in “contrast with the pride in sexual equality” that was demonstrated by yesterday’s Pride Cymru event in Cardiff. He said those who had disrupted the meeting held “extremist views”. 

Speaking on BBC Radio Wales’ Sunday Supplement programme Lord Elis-Thomas said: “I think what happened, when the meeting had to be abandoned because of the activity, the antisocial activity, the negative activity of people who are opposed to Welsh Government policy, which has been clearly passed by all members of the National Assembly... and the contrast with the pride in sexual equality at the Cardiff march - and what happened in Caernarfon, is a very serious matter. 

“A public meeting of a statutory body was disrupted by a group of extremists and those people, should in fact, face police action against them in the future.” 

Presenter Rhodri Lewis asked the former Plaid Cymru leader why he didn’t support “direct protest” but Lord Elis-Thomas replied: “No not a deliberate attempt to disrupt a meeting.  

“That is inappropriate, preventing democracy happening in a local authority, in a national assembly, or parliament or anywhere else is totally against the spirit of democracy and the people perpetrating these things, because of their extremist views, they don’t reflect the views of the people of Wales, they don’t reflect the democratic decisions of Welsh politicians and therefore they need to be stopped.” 

The Gwynedd council meeting had been called by five councillors who raised concerns over the new curriculum due to be rolled out from September and was punctuated by shouts from the public gallery intended to prevent those in favour of the policy from being heard. 

Following the meeting Wales' education minister Jeremy Miles issued a statement hitting out at misleading claims about the curriculum and criticising a campaign group, which wasn’t named in the statement.  

Miles said a “particular campaign group” had continued to make misleading claims over the curriculum and its content. 

The Public Child Protection Wales group (PCPW) is currently challenging the new curriculum through the courts, including the Welsh Government’s decision that sex and education will be mandatory, ending the right of parents to withdraw their children from certain lessons including religious education.

The group has also distributed a leaflet that suggests the curriculum could introduce young children to ideas such as “self-stimulation, masturbation, bondage and anal sex”, topics the education minister has confirmed wouldn’t be allowed under a code covering relationship and sexuality education or legally backed guidance. 

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In Gwynedd councillors cited parents stating they will withdraw their children from schoo, as a result of the PCPW campaign, as a reason to further discuss the policy.

Last week a former town councillor, Paul Dawson, was also reprimanded by a watchdog for sharing “misinformation” on the new sex education curriculum.