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Plaid Cymru leader claims she’s ‘staggered’ by backlash after calling Barcelona attack ‘far-right’ terrorism

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Leanne Wood, leader of Plaid Cymru has said she is “staggered” by the response to her suggestion that the Barcelona attack was “far-right” terrorism.

Leanne Wood, who is a member of the Welsh Assembly, posted her reaction on Thursday on Twitter, saying: “Ofnadwy/terrible. Is this more far-right terrorism? My thoughts are with all those affected.” Join today

She added: “All forms of political violence are the same. USA, Barcelona, everywhere. They are ideology-driven & we have to understand that to stop it.”

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A Welsh Conservative Assembly member called on Ms Wood to apologise or resign, while UKIP accused her of an “outrageous smear”.

Ms Wood said far-right ideologies drove both Islamic State, which has claimed it was behind the attack in Barcelona, and white supremacists.

Ms Wood said: “I am staggered by the reaction to the point that Isis and white supremacism both have far-right ideologies driving them.

“Both see their group as superior to others. Both see people who are not in their group fair targets for abuse, violence and even death.

“Both hate minorities and consider women to be less than men. Both believe in using extreme violence to repress people with different views. This is far right/fascism ideology. How can it not be?

“I can see why this point may upset so many trolls and people who see themselves as being on the far right.

“The comparison links western racists and white supremacists to their number one hate target and shows them as no better than each other.

“Some of the responses to me making this point have crossed a line and so I will be relaxing my no-blocking rule today.

“Events in Barcelona last night were terrifying, yet again.

“While it’s important, in my view, to say and keep saying that politics and ideology lie behind these acts of violence, my thoughts are first and foremost with the victims of last night’s horror.“

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies described Ms Wood’s original comments as “unbelievable” and later tweeted: “I’m staggered that she’s staggered.

“Such comments are unacceptable and no faux outrage can reverse this misjudgement.“

He had earlier said: “Sickening to hear of the attack in Barcelona. We will stand together and prove that our values will prevail and hate will never win.“

His colleague Janet Finch-Saunders AM said: “She should apologise and withdraw those unacceptable comments or resign.“

Meanwhile, Ukip in Wales tweeted: “Absolutely outrageous smear by Leanne Wood who uses ‘far right’ to describe Ukip. How dare you associate us with murderers.“

Leanne Wood

First Minister Carwyn Jones said the thoughts of the people of Wales were with those affected by the terrorist attacks.

He said: “It is truly horrifying to think that people who were simply going about their daily lives, relaxing and enjoying themselves could be targeted in such an evil way.

“Barcelona is a proud and beautiful city which welcomes international visitors with open arms, including many from Wales.“

“We stand by your side at this difficult time.“

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