Protesting the NATO Summit, Saturday 30th August 2014, Newport.
This weekend members of Veterans For Peace joined thousands of activists in Newport, South Wales to protest the NATO summit being held next week. Here is what some of them had to say.
Stuart Griffiths a veteran of the conflict in Northern Ireland said “Yet again it was yet another peaceful demonstration but as usual the police presence was over the top ‘because of national security’ its seems that nowadays security is far greater than perosnal freedom and what Gus Hales mentioned seemed to echo true about slipping further and further into an ‘Orwellian State’. Now all we can do is make a stand – and I’m proud to make that stand with Veterans For Peace”
Gus Hales a veteran of the Falklands War said “This two day summit and its pampering and security of the NATO elite, is costing a staggering 50million pounds. The county of Glamorgan has become a prison for the people of South Wales and the fear factor is epitomised by raising of the national security alert and the presence of seven NATO warships harboured in Cardiff Bay.
“If this summit had to take place, then why couldn’t it have been held on an aircraft carrier mid Atlantic ocean. Or maybe on a one way trip to the international space station. How much longer before the general population wake up to the fact that NATO is Now an Arms Trading Organisation or could it just be that NATO is Now A Terrorist Operation designed to subjugate the people into believing that war is once again a viable and credible option to the worlds problems.”
Ant Heaford a veteran of the War in Afghanistan said “This peaceful pre-summit protest was a success in every way, uniting many different causes under one banner, Stop NATO’s War Mongering!
“We gathered around midday at the town’s civic centre, where we were entertained by some of the most passionate voices of the valley’s – Cardiff Reds Choir. Had they sung ‘Men of Harlech’ it would have been reminiscent of the movie ‘Zulu’ – people from all walks of life united against seemingly insurmountable odds.
“Facing those ‘insurmountable odds’ had led me to wonder ‘what is the point?’ and I was on the verge of throwing the towel in before I’d even left home. I could not be more glad that I didn’t. Any doubts I had were dispelled within the first half hour as person after person saw the Veterans For Peace banner and came to thank us personally for our presence and efforts. It was incredibly moving and very humbling as I realised the importance so many people place on VFP within the peace movement.
“The march set off at 2p.m. with good humor that lasted until the end. The Police presence was low key, cheerful and even helpful – in a lovely touch they even colour coordinated their uniform accessories to our VFP hoodies!
“The route took us on a well paced tour of the city centre – local Newportians we passed only expressed support, and were without complaint to the obvious disruption of their Saturday. Ending with some brief yet inspiring speeches (preaching to the converted!) the march and rally were finished in a little over two hours, making me realize the greatest effort involved in the whole day was principally the decision to go.
“So what was it that caused my change of heart as I had waivered? It was our Gus, both knowingly & unwittingly. His excellent preparation meant the journey was hassle free, the driving shared and was a great chance to introduce ourselves before arriving. The second and maybe unintentional prompt for me was my chance viewing of his Christ Church, Port Stanley reading. I won’t try to surmise it but will only ask anyone who is wavering in their resolve to watch it. It was and remains an awe inspiring act of selfless courage.”