WITH less than 100 days to go before the Newport Nato Summit this September a group of anarchists and anti-Nato campaigners have set up shop in the city, while plans emerge to disrupt the summit’s first day.
A former Thai restaurant unit on Commercial Street has been transformed into what organisers have called a “festival of radical change” dubbed Newport Rising.
The week-long event, organised by anarchist and anti-Nato groups, will see a range of workshops on everything from opposition to nuclear power and fracking in Wales, to the protests against the summit itself.
One of the groups planning protests, Stop Nato Cymru, says it is planning a “mass action” to disrupt the first day of the Celtic Manor Resort summit on September 4.
Other action planned by the umbrella No to Nato Newport group includes the “Long March to Newport” of walkers and cyclists across Wales during August, reaching the city by August 29.
A march in Newport is planned for August 30, together with a counter summit on August 31.
Organisers of Newport Rising were cautious about talking to journalists yesterday but some visitors did speak to the Argus.
One attendee, Helen, said: “I think it’s shameful that South Wales is welcoming Nato after everything that Nato does to communities.”
Simon Lewis, who is originally from Gwent, said Nato “aren’t accountable to anybody. They enforce the interests of a few governments.”
Iestyn Jones, from North Wales, said he was primarily interested in anarchism but said people should protest against the event, citing millions in cuts planned in the city over the next few years.
Newport Rising, organised by Stop Nato Cymru, the Anarchist Action Network and South Wales Anarchists and which is taking place in a unit, the Argus was told, is being rented, is running until June 1.
It is unconnected to Newport Rises – a separate non-political group set up to promote the city.
Meanwhile, the 100 days-to-go milestone was yesterday marked by the Conservative Secretary of State for Wales David Jones.
“Governments in London and in Cardiff are working hard to ensure Wales derives the maximum benefit from the summit and is promoted as a great place to visit, do business and study,” he said.
Mr Jones said it is important to educate young people about Nato and therefore a teaching resource for 11 to 18 year olds will be made available to schools.
“The Newport area itself boasts Europe’s largest and most advanced centre of military armour technology... It is essential we take advantage to ensure Welsh expertise in the defence sector is highlighted to delegates,” he said.