South East Wales

Hundreds join Nato protest march in Newport on Saturday

About 600 people have taken part in a march through Newport ahead of the Nato summit being held in the city.

Police and council officials had warned the march might cause disruptions as rolling road blocks were put in place.

More than 150 heads of state and ministers will attend the summit.

A peace camp has been set up at the city's Tredegar Park with more campaigners expected to arrive in the run up to the summit at Newport's Celtic Manor Resort from Thursday.

A number of roads were affected during the march, which started from Newport Crown Court car park at 14:00 BST.

Groups including Stop the War organised coaches with campaigners driven in from London, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.

The Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND) has helped organise a Counter Summit on Sunday at Cardiff County Hall with talks from political dissidents and peace activists.

Police thanked protesters who took part in Saturday's peaceful protest.

Gwent Police Ch Supt Alun Thomas said: "The police service respects the right for peaceful protest and it was encouraging to work with the protesters to facilitate the march, which I am pleased to report passed without incident.

"Our thanks go out to everyone for their cooperation and support today in Newport."

Newport City Council's Labour councillors have sent an open letter to world leaders attending the summit calling for "political, not military, solutions" to the situation in Gaza amid hopes of a long-term truce between Israel and the Palestinians.

"We wish you well in all your endeavours to secure peace in the world," they said.

But Pippa Bartolotti, Wales Green Party leader and one of the No Nato Newport organisers, said: "The Nato that so many people remember as a force for defence has turned into a force for aggression without anyone really being aware that this subtle change has happened over the last 10 to 15 years."

Meanwhile in Cardiff, road closures will be in place on Saturday night through to Sunday morning to allow further work on a security cordon around Cardiff Castle and the Royal College of Music and Drama where summit dinners will take place.

Cardiff council said the east and northbound carriageway from Castle Street to North Road would be shut from 20.30-06.30 BST.

Image caption Protestors make their way through the city towards Westgate Square

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