THE GOVERNMENT’S decision to install missiles at Blackheath and Oxleas Meadow during the Olympics has been branded “offensive” and “antidemocratic”.

The MOD confirmed yesterday that surface-to-air missiles would arrive at six sites across London to protect the Games following “a wide programme of engagement” with affected communities.

But groups against the missiles – which have a range of up to five miles – are furious at the news and say they were not properly consulted.

Press Officer for Greenwich and Bexley Trades Council Dave Putson says he has been wading through angry emails since the announcement.

Mr Putson said: “People are absolutely furious. The MOD, once again, has acted to make a decision to militarise our communities without consultation.

“Philip Hammond has actually lied to parliament and says he has done extensive consultation.

“They have not consulted with the most important people of all – the people who live in the areas affected. It is offensive and antidemocratic.”

He queries the need for the missiles and says there are already security systems in place to remove terrorist threats including high-speed aircraft.

Treasurer of the Lewisham branch of campaign group Stop the War Michael Coulston backed Mr Putson. He said: “Basically, I don’t believe that the missiles have anything to do with security, but everything to do with creating fear among local people and, perhaps, putting on a show for the corporations who have taken over the Olympics so that they feel important.

“I feel that the Olympics is giving us a very tiny feel of what it’s like to live under military occupation, with all existing laws being ignored and an outside power (the International Olympic Committee) making up its own rules.”

In yesterday’s statement, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there were just a “small number of activists” who object to the decision.

Yet a petition of 1,000 signatures from East London against the rockets was handed to Parliament last week and residents in missile site Waltham Forest have launched legal action – a decision Greenwich and Lewisham groups are considering.

Lewisham and Greenwich Campaign against Nuclear Disarmament (CND) helped organise a 140-strong march in Blackheath in June and fear the impact on residents if the rockets are fired.

Press officer for CND Jane Chapman said: “They have spelt nothing out about the consequences of using these things. The vast majority of people I have spoken to are amazed that it should have even been suggested. And I don’t think some people understand all the consequences of them being used.

“As for consultation, it is absolutely untrue – it is a blatant lie. We are just sort of shaking a bit from that and going to plan what we can do about it.”

The MOD statement read: “Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects that we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event.

“Ground-based air defence [GBAD] systems will form just one part of a comprehensive, multi-layered air security plan which, I believe, will provide both reassurance and a powerful deterrent.”

Taken from the NEWS SHOPPER. See full article in context here;