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Thursday 18th September 2014
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Police On Alert Amid Nato Summit Protest

Friday, 29th August 2014 22:35

Anti-war protesters have been demonstrating in Newport, as South Wales prepares to host the Nato summit.

Around 1,000 people gathered outside the crown court before they made their way through the city.

As well as a strong Welsh contingent, demonstrators came from as far as the US, Belgium, France and Ireland.

Police are expecting more demonstrations this week including one on Thursday that may be "something a little more challenging" as protesters try to get to Celtic Manor Resort, which is the focus of the summit.

Among those taking part in Saturday's march was veteran CND campaigner Bruce Kent.

He said: "Nato's continued expansion has brought about the current problems with Russia.

"If you put yourself in their shoes, you would be concerned at the growing military presence on your doorstep.

"We need to think about peaceful ways of resolving problems not ramping matters up further with the sabre rattling that Nato have been doing.

"We need to say no to Nato and no to nuclear weapons. The money being spent on Trident would far better served in health or education."

Adam Johannes, from the Stop the War Coalition, said: "Some 60 world leaders will be meeting. They'll be making their voices heard and it's really important that another voice is heard, the voice of millions of people around the world who want peace and justice, who reject the policies put forward by our leaders.

"We think these protests are really important, not only in terms of showing world leaders but also in shaping public debate."

Some 150 dignitaries, including 67 heads of state, are due to meet next Thursday and Friday at the Celtic Manor Resort near Newport, with dinners and events also planned in Cardiff.

The summit will focus on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, the situation in Afghanistan, and security challenges across the Middle East and North Africa. Representatives from all 28 Nato countries are attending.

Assistant Chief Constable Chris Armitt, the police officer in charge, has described it as one of the largest security operations in British history, and "completely uncharted territory".

He told Sky News: "There is huge confidence in the UK's ability to deliver a quality security operation around major events, if you look at the Commonwealth Games, the Olympics, that sort of thing.

"We know we can do it and people recognise that. All the visiting countries have concerns, which we have to give them assurance about. We work very closely to make sure we do that."

Some 9,500 police officers from across the UK have been drafted in to protect the world leaders and police any demonstrations. 

Nearly 11 miles of steel fencing has been erected around the Celtic Manor Resort, in Cardiff City centre and at Cardiff Bay, where seven Nato warships will be stationed.