PROTESTERS claim more than 100 organisations have backed a statement calling for a week of protests in the week leading up to the Nato summit.
The statement, issued by No Nato Newport and a coalition of Welsh anti-war, anti-cuts, trade union, community and faith groups, calls for marches and a peace camp to be set up in the city from August 30.
A spokeswoman for the umbrella group No Nato Newport said: “From August 30, thousands of people from all over the world will flock to Wales, set up tents, kitchens, peaceful barricades and occupy Newport for a week of action including marches, a peace camp and a People’s Summit to debate alternatives.
“The week of protest will open with an eve of summit a march through Newport city centre on Saturday, August 30, led by delegations of trade unionists, anti-war veterans and peace activists from Germany, Belgium, Spain, Greece and elsewhere. We expect this to be massive.”
Protesters have booked the County Hall in Cardiff for a counter-summit on Sunday, August 31, with speakers from around the world and the Pill Mill on Monday, September 1.
The spokeswoman added: “On Thursday, September 4 as the Nato summit opens we expect a day of peaceful mass civil disobedience. World leaders will be making their voices heard, it is vital that the voice of millions around the world who need peace and justice are also heard.”
Gwent Police have estimated 20,000 protestors will descend on the city for the week. Some of the organisations supporting the movement are Stop the War Coalition, Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, People’s Assembly Against Austerity, Public and Commercial Services Union (PCS), Student Assembly Against Austerity, Black Triangle, Anti-Defamation Campaign in Defence of Disability Rights,Veterans for Peace UK and Child Victims of War,
Plaid Cymru and Cymdeithas yr Iaith Gymraeg, the Welsh Language Society, are also backing the call for protests as are faith groups and leaders ranging from Buddhist group Rissho Kosei-ka UK to the Archbishop of Wales, Dr Barry Morgan.
Jill Evans MEP, pledging Plaid Cymru’s support for the protests, said: “The Nuclear Free Wales Declaration was made in 1982, meaning that Wales was the first country in Europe to be nuclear free.
“While we have not had the powers in Wales to make our country truly nuclear free, it was a democratic declaration that sent out a message to the world.
“From the end of August, the eyes of the world will be on Newport. This time the message will be from Nato, a nuclear weapons-based alliance which Plaid Cymru rejects.
“World leaders have choices. They can choose to channel more money into arms and warfare or they can invest it instead in creating sustainable jobs, helping the poorest into schools and hospitals and fighting climate change.”
The Nato summit is to be held on September 4 and 5 at the Celtic Manor Resort in Newport.