South East Wales

Protesters stage anti-Nato march

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionPaul Heaney reports from the protest in Newport city centre

Around 250 people have taken part in demonstration in Newport against the Nato summit being held in the city.

About 100 spent the night at a peace camp in the city's Tredegar Park ahead of the planned protest.

The numbers are low compared to earlier predictions of many thousands descending on the city.

They marched from the city's cenotaph to the Coldra roundabout near the Celtic Manor Hotel, the main venue for the two-day summit.

Image caption Protesters shouted 'No new wars' and 'They say warfare, we say welfare' as they marched
Image caption A cordon of police in riot gear met the protesters at the Celtic Manor

Once the march reached the "ring of steel" at the Celtic Manor, they found a group of police in riot gear on the other side of a metal barrier.

A delegation of the protesters went to meet Nato officials behind the fence where they handed them a letter and a bouquet of flowers.

Protesters started hammering at the wall and fixing placards to it, and throwing small objects to the other side.

Despite that, the mood of the march was peaceful and good-natured, according to BBC reporters at the scene and Gwent Police confirmed no arrests were made.

In a speech to the protesters, Pippa Bartolotti of the Green Party said: "We don't need warfare, we need welfare."

Image caption The police stopped all but a few protestors from entering the Celtic Manor
Image caption The delegation address protesters at the cordon

The protesters - initially estimated to have been 500 in number but later confirmed as 250 - had gathered at the cenotaph from midday and headed for the Celtic Manor Resort, with rolling road blocks in place.

Around 200 local residents had lined Chepstow Road and Llanwern Road to watch the march go by.

One of those who took part in the march, NHS worker Dai John from Pontllanfraith in Caerphilly county, explained his reasons for coming.

He told BBC News: "Too much money is being spent on arms and not enough on the health service."

Under the banner of No to Nato, events have been taking place in the week running up to the summit, including a march in Newport last Saturday.

Media playback is unsupported on your device
Media captionThe BBC News helicopter captured these aerial shots
Image copyright PA
Image caption Mounted police follow the route of the march
Image copyright MVRettros
Image caption Around 500 people joined the march
Image caption Protesters start to gather at the Cenotaph in Newport for a planned anti-Nato march through the city
Image caption Mixed messages on the march as two women send an appeal to the delegates
Image caption Marchers gather behind a banner at the start of the protest
Image caption Motorcycle police arrive in Newport ahead of planned protest
Image caption One group of protesters gather in preparation for the demo
Image caption One man and his dog came along to take part

CND Cymru vice chair Dr John Cox said: "The recent scale of Nato expansion has not made the world a more secure place but instead has contributed to international tension as Russia sees itself increasingly surrounded by US and Nato bases including in the Balkans, the Middle East and central Asia."

Another march is planned for Cardiff later on Thursday as delegates move to events in the capital city.

Reiner Braun, co-president of the International Peace Bureau and a speaker from the German peace movement, was one of those attending the peace camp.

He told BBC Wales: "I cannot see that Nato is protecting people. Nato is killing people. Nato is engaged in war, it is doing war. They are sending drones, they are sending fighters.

"We are staying for peaceful protest. We will arrange peaceful protest, we will not provoke the police."

South Wales Police Chief Supt Alun Maxwell Thomas said the fact the march took place in a "peaceful and secure manner" was testament to the force's extensive planning and positive engagement with protesters.

"I would like to thank local residents for their continued support and co-operation and we are continuing to do everything possible to deliver a safe and secure event," he said.

Related Topics

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites