THE council confirmed there would be a 'peace camp' on Tredegar Park during the Nato Summit yesterday, as campaigners apologised to Pill residents.
In a statement issued late on Wednesday night, campaigners from protest group 'No Nato Newport' said: "We whole heartedly apologise to the residents of Pill. No intention to upset or force a peace camp was ever intended."
Plans for a ‘peace camp’ on Pill fields were abandoned after residents voiced their anger at the plans.
A spokeswoman for Newport council said: “Representatives of the No to Nato group have told the council they now intend to camp in Tredegar Park.
“They have given assurances that it will be a peaceful encampment and tents will be sited away from the park’s amenities, such as the pitches, and they will not interfere with the park’s normal activities. Therefore, club fixtures can still be accommodated during this period.
“Newport City Council is continuing to work with partner agencies to monitor the situation and minimise the impact of such a camp.”
In their statement, ‘No Nato Newport’ explained the initial decision for a camp in Pill saying they had been offered a venue in Cardiff Bay but they did not want Newport to “lose out”.
A spokeswoman said: “In a democratic society if Nato can be so lavishly facilitated at our expense, why can’t the protesters as visitors to our city be welcome with very basic needs?”
They said they chose Pill fields because they were within walking distance of the station and were central so protesters could spend money locally. In addition, they had booked Pill Millennium Centre for four days and said they “genuinely believed this would offer the community hosting our activities so much more” including a free breakfast and dinner and workshops run by police checked professionals in areas such as conflict resolution.
But they added in hindsight this was “naive” and they had not foreseen the reaction.
The statement added “members of No Nato Newport immediately started some outreach in the Pill community to engage the residents in our plans. The fraction of the community we spoke to were positive about our plans.”
A central location was thought necessary “so it didn’t prove to be another lost economic opportunity for Newport, such as the Ryder Cup”, the statement said.
The spokeswoman said campaigners had reached a consensus on cancelling the Pill camp before at public meeting on Tuesday, but in the “heated atmosphere” they had not been able to read their statement.
Explaining the rationale for a ‘peace camp’ the statement claimed: "Nato is increasingly being viewed as a vehicle for US foreign policy into Europe and one that unsettles rather than keeps the peace.”