TO ALL intents and purposes, the Newport Nato Summit starts today.

World leaders may not start their two-day meeting at the Celtic Manor Resort until Thursday, but with protesters arriving in the city yesterday, an increased police presence on the street, and military aircraft in the skies the event is well and truly with us.

Today there will be a protest march through Newport. Estimates vary as to how many people will take part but it is likely to be in the thousands.

There will be disruption for motorists and some residents and businesses, but we live in a democratic country and everyone has the right to protest lawfully and peacefully.

There is no reason why Newport should not welcome the protesters. After all, its Chartist history makes our city one of the birth places of modern democracy.

Some Newportonians will share the protesters' views. Others will not.

Either way, they have the right to go about their daily lives with minimum disruption from protesters and police.

Newport is a fair and tolerant city. All we ask is those visiting to make their voices heard behave in the same way.

Our message to everyone at the Tredegar Park peace camp and on today's march is simple. Please make your protests peaceful and respect our city and its people.

If anyone has come to cause trouble or to be violent then we have a simple message for them as well. You are not welcome here.