ANTI-NATO protesters stepped up activity with more an ‘alternative summit’ put on yesterday at the Dolman Theatre.

More than 50 people turned up for a day of talks and workshops which welcomed speakers from around the world.

People travelled from as far afield as the USA and Denmark to join residents of Newport.

Meetings at the Dolman saw international speakers and peace activists lead a public discussion of hot topics including drones, the crisis in Iraq, nuclear weapons and the alleged militarisation of the EU.

Leader of the Green Party in Wales, Pippa Bartolotti, chaired the opening discussion on the use of drones worldwide and said she was pleased with the turnout.

Ms Bartolotti said: “I’m pretty delighted to have local people here as well as the international visitors. We would like to do an event like this again.

“Today has given us a new perspective on Ukraine with comments from the audience. The march yesterday and the turnout today shows people are interested.”

The human rights campaigner said military surveillance in Wales is a concern and she hopes to have woken up the community to the danger.

She said: “Newport could become a hub for military surveillance. It will creep up on people and we should push for Newport to be drone free.

“In West Wales there are areas which are used to hearing the buzzing of drones and this could be the same here. There is a rather shady future which seems to be mapped out in front of us.”

The summit was organised by Stop the War Coalition as part of a series of week-long activities involving peaceful protests of the Nato summit.

Representatives from the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, Hare Krishna and the United National Anti-war Coalition also attended the summit.

The two talks and discussion on the situation on Iraq drew in one of the day’s biggest audiences with the room at the theatre close to bursting point.

Joe Lombardo, an activist who travelled from the USA to speak on the situation in Iraq, gave a run-down of the country’s recent history.

He said: “Iraq was almost a first world country at one point. As well as Ukraine, Iraq will be under the spotlight in the next couple of days”.

The alternative summit continues today at the Dolman Theatre, with sessions on Gaza, peaceful co-existence and victims of Nato from 10am to 4pm.