Welsh golf resort locked down for NATO summit

AFP
Armed police officers stand guard outside The Celtic Manor Resort, the venue for the upcoming NATO summit, in Newport, south Wales, on September 2, 2014
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Armed police officers stand guard outside The Celtic Manor Resort, the venue for the upcoming NATO summit, in Newport, south Wales, on September 2, 2014 (AFP Photo/Justin Tallis)

Newport (United Kingdom) (AFP) - A huge security operation involving 9,000 British police officers will secure a luxury Welsh golf resort hosting a NATO summit later this week, officials said Tuesday.

Officers deployed across the golf course at the Celtic Manor Resort, in Newport, and along a 13-kilometre (eight-mile) steel fence around the site in anticipation of the arrival of 67 world leaders for crisis talks on Russia's role in the war in Ukraine.

US President Barack Obama is attending the meeting of the military alliance and security is tight, not least because Britain last week raised its terrorism threat level.

The risk is now "severe", the second highest level out of five, meaning an attack is thought to be "highly likely". The change was sparked by fears that jihadists fighting in Iraq and Syria could threaten security in Britain.

Overall, about 20 kilometres of security fencing has been erected around key venues in Newport and Cardiff, patrolled by squads of police on motorbikes as well as helicopters flying overhead.

Police officers also fanned across the hotel's golf course, where hosted the 2010 Ryder Cup.

In a symbolic show of military strength, six warships will be anchored during the summit in Cardiff Bay, from Britain, France, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway.

Anti-war protesters staged a demonstration on Saturday and a further march and protest is planned on Thursday, with several hundred people expected to participate.

Activists oppose the amount of money spent on defence by NATO members and say the expansion of the military alliance is partly to blame for the current crisis in Ukraine.

Russia's alleged aggression in the former Soviet state will dominate the two-day meeting in Wales. Ukraine is not a NATO member, but its beleaguered leader Petro Poroshenko will attend to personally lobby Obama for military help.

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