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- Protesters set up camp at Tredegar Park
- Police on Coldra and Tredegar Park junctions
- Restrictions on major roads
THE ruling Labour group on Newport City Council have issued this open letter to Nato country leaders ahead of the city's Nato summit, calling for them to help bring a lasting peace in Gaza:
Open Letter to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Member Countries.
On behalf of the Labour Group, the majority political group, in Newport City Council we would like to welcome you as delegates to our home City.
At the time of writing this letter the worldwide media is reporting an agreement of a long-term truce between Israel and the Palestinians. This protracted conflict has seen the deadliest violence in years, with reports of terrible and disproportionate attacks visited upon the war-torn civilian populations broadcast on a daily basis to the World beyond Gaza.
This latest and most positive news brings a renewed hope that the outcome of lasting peace can begin in earnest for both civilian populations.
In common with all decent and right-minded people we look forward to the prospect of political, not military, solutions. The First Minister of Wales made reference in his statement earlier this month on the situation in Gaza, to the fact that we too have experience of seemingly intractable conflict in a region of the United Kingdom – Northern Ireland confirmed that ultimately violence brings a vicious cycle of more violence, and that it is not until opposing sides are ready and prepared to negotiate that a safe and decent future for ordinary people can be secured.
The ceasefire that has just been announced comes at the end of seven weeks of fighting that has left more than 2,200 people dead. The news that Israel is to ease its blockade of Gaza has been welcomed together with the announcement that discussions are to commence regarding the construction of a seaport and airport in Gaza.
However, we are only too mindful of the caution expressed by the UN Secretary General who warns that any peace that does not tackle the “root causes of the crisis will do little more than set the stage for the next cycle of violence.” It is with this in mind that we share the concerns expressed from many quarters and call upon those World leaders visiting Newport to combine their efforts to bring about a lasting peace in the Israeli/Palestine conflict.
Newport City Council Welsh Labour Group
Protesters who arrived early sheltered from the drizzle in a marquee where Welsh cakes, cups of tea and plates of stew were served yesterday.
Activist Rowland Dye, who said he was a former nuclear scientist, said: “I have come to this camp to protest Nato’s warmongering.”
He said intervention in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya had caused many deaths and he was against future Nato action in the Middle East, Africa and Ukraine.
Meanwhile Marian Connelly, 60, from Bristol, said she would be joining a block supporting Palestine during a protest march tomorrow. “I want to protest British support for Israel,” she said.
“I’m planning to be here for the week.” She claimed: “Israel has occupied Palestine since 1948. There are daily atrocities in the West Bank which are never reported.”
Also arriving today at the protesters' camp was Glaswegian Darren Carnegie, 25, who drove for ten hours along with his father and his dog Grace.
He caused some raised eyebrows while walking around in a tartan minikilt – but said he was doing it to raise attention for the cause and to show people from as far as Scotland were willing to make the trip.
Back in day-to-day clothes when the Argus spoke to him, he said he and his father had protested at the G8 summit in Enniskillen in Ireland last year and he had taken unpaid leave from his job as a salesman to attend the protest camp.
“We run a food bank in Glasgow,” he said. “In 2014, there are children going to bed hungry. That’s not right. Heads of state are meeting in a swanky hotel, drinking champagne and discussing how they can help blow the world up, spending billions on weapons that can destroy the human race. It doesn’t make sense to me and it never will.”
Saturday’s protest, organised by Stop the War and the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, will see protestors gather at around 1pm and then march from the Civic Centre at 2pm, over the Old Town Bridge and past the War Memorial in Clarence Place.
Demonstrators will then continue along Corporation Road, across George Street Bridge and then Commercial Road before ending in Westgate Square at around 4pm.
Newport Bus services will be suspended after 2pm tomorrow as the anti-Nato march makes its way through the city.
Protestors intend to march from the council owned car park by the Crown Court buildings during the afternoon, with the car park closed all day.
Some routes will run until 1.35pm while others stop running as early as 11.30am.
The proposed march will go past the railway station and to the Old Green interchange before crossing Old Town Bridge and then going via the Cenotaph in Clarence Place, along Corporation Road, across George Street Bridge and then Commercial Road before ending in Westgate Square at around 4pm or later, a spokesman for Newport Bus said.
The latest time each bus service can be caught is available on the bus service’s website at www.newportbus.co.uk/news/nato-protest-marches.
It's unclear if the increase in threat level has anything to do with the Nato summit yet - we're trying to get an answer on this:
The UK Threat Level from international terrorism has been raised to Severe. We will respond calmly and purposefully, but without compromise.— David Cameron (@David_Cameron) August 29, 2014
Speaking of NATO summits, if I read one more report of it happening 'In Cardiff' I shall crack. NEWPORT, people! Different city! Gaaaggh— Tansy Kelly Robson (@Artemisapphire) August 29, 2014
First Minister Carwyn Jones, Mayor of Newport Councillor Matthew Evans and Secretary of State for Wales Stephen Crabb MP at the reception promoting Wales ahead of the Nato summit last night.
Wales Green Party leader Pippa Bartolotti is at the peace camp:
A rare non-military helicopter in the skies above Newport today was the Sky News chopper:
South Wales Fire and Rescue Service have given this advice to the anti-Nato protesters today:
Ensure that all smoker materials e.g. cigarettes, matched and lighters are completely extinguished and safely disposed of
Avoid setting up and lighting camp or open fires
Not take any gas heaters or stoves into tents for additional heat, this could cause carbon monoxide poisoning
Avoid the use of flares or fireworks
Report any individuals seen to be carrying out deliberate acts of ignition e.g. arson or vandalism
SWFRS will be allocating additional resources to fire stations local to the peace camps for the period of the NATO Summit. For more information visit www.gov.uk/nato-wales-local
Angus McPherson, 52, from Bristol, was also at the park setting up camp away from the main play area on a pirate ship with a rubbery surfacing under foot.
Part of the Bristol for Palestine Coalition, he said: “We are all from different groups. I have been here for a couple of days, just setting up the structures that are going to support the tents. Other groups will arrive in various dribs and drabs.”
Another protester, Eddie Clarke, from Bristol, is helping coordinate the camp and is currently setting up tents and cooking facilities on the site.
He said: “It’s early days. Later on today we will have a better idea of how fast it’s going to move. The first thing we’re setting up is the kitchen. Toilets are being installed now and they will be ready tomorrow. We think the campers will really start coming tomorrow night but it’s only guesswork really. We have had a couple of 100 affirmatives so far but the nature of this is they probably would not tell us and just come.
“There’s obviously the fear it might break out into trouble because of the police activity. Then there’s the march on Saturday. A lot of people will be in Newport for that march and they’re the most likely to start camping.”
He said protesters would also be constructing a multicoloured awning to shelter protesters from the weather, as well as four or five marquees.
Protester David Hogan arrived today from Pontypool to set up camp with his ten-year-old daughter Izabel.
He said: “We want to be here until the end, as long as possible. I have agreed with the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament for over 30 years, for what it stands for. I’m not here to protest against wars as I know some are necessary – but nuclear bombs, no.”
His daughter Izabel said: “I’m looking forward to the camp. It’s going to be fun. We will probably go for lots of walks and go to the river as well.”
She said she agreed with her father’s stance on nuclear weapons and would be staying with him in their four man tent.
12:30pm Fri 29 Aug 14
I think my screen name is most appropriate here, why on earth did they pitch the tents on the play area, and not on the grass, like a normal camper would?
Just seeing that image of the 3 tents on the children's play area is making me angrier and angrier.
Police officers have blocked off pedestrian access to Coldra Roundabout on Chepstow Road. An officer from the Lancashire Constabulary is pictured on patrol:
And this one from Lawrence Roche:
Some of them have been flying in and out of Rodney Parade as this post from Merlin Wayne Rossiter shows:
Jhons Ramirez posted this great pic of a Merlin helicopter which flew over Newport yesterday:
11:57am Fri 29 Aug 14
Why don't these peace activists set up camp in northern Iraq or eastern Ukraine I'm sure the locals will welcome them with open arms.
Newport Bus services will be suspended after 2pm tomorrow as the anti-Nato march makes its way through the city. More info here:
Information regarding disruptions and diversions during NATO here - http://t.co/apOkD0sJpc— Newport Bus (@NewportBus) August 28, 2014
Signs on Chepstow Road opposite the entrance to the Celtic Manor warning drivers not to stop:
The banner outside Tredegar Park today:
ANTI-NATO protestors have moved in at Tredegar Park in Newport as the city prepares to host the summit next week.
Three tents have been put up in the now-closed splash pool area at the park.
More protestors were arriving at the park this morning, where a banner had been put up announcing their presence this morning