Nato protesters open peace camp at Newport's Tredegar Park
- 29 August 2014
- From the section South East Wales
Campaigners have opened a camp with thousands of protesters due in Newport ahead of next week's Nato summit.
Kitchens, toilets and washing facilities haven been installed at Tredegar Park with the first demonstration expected on Saturday, five days before the summit.
More than 150 heads of state and ministers will attend the two-day event at Newport's Celtic Manor Resort.
Police have taken over Rodney Parade sports ground to manage extra policing.
Security for the summit will be provided by 9,500 police officers drawn from 43 UK police forces with 12 miles (20km) of security fencing already in place at keys sites in Cardiff and in Newport.
But the million dollar question is how many campaigners will descend on Newport, according to Eddie Clarke, of the No Nato Newport group.
He is one of a core of 100 volunteers from several campaign groups such as the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament (CND), who have set up the campsite in anticipation of their supporters needing somewhere to pitch tents while staying in Newport to protest their cause in front of world leaders and media.
Groups like Stop the War have organised coaches with peace campaigners being driven in from London, Birmingham, Norwich and Newcastle.
They also expect campaigners to come from further afield with a Counter Summit on Sunday including speakers representing peace movements in the US and Russia in their bid to "end the drive to war and military spending".
Newport council said it had been given assurances the camp will be a "peaceful encampment" and will not interfere with the park's normal activities.
A spokesperson said: "Newport City Council is continuing to work with partner agencies to monitor the situation and minimise the impact of such a camp."
Gwent Police have taken over Rodney Parade sports ground to help manage the huge security operation already described as "unchartered territory" by the office in charge.
A police spokesperson told the South Wales Argus it was one of a number of local venues being used for various activities, including booking officers on and off duty, briefings, and canteen facilities.
The Nato security operation budget would pick up the bill for hiring the facility which is the home of the Newport Gwent Dragons, Newport County FC and Newport RFC, the spokesperson added.