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Protest march against Olympic missiles at Blackheath and Oxleas Wood

First published in London 2012 Herald Series: Photograph of the Author by , reporter

PROTESTERS against the installation of surface-to-air missiles for the Olympics marched from Oxleas Wood to Blackheath on Saturday to cheers and hoots from supportive residents.

Around 140 people joined the 4.2 mile march between the two proposed sites for Rapier missiles amid fears locals will be put in grave danger if the weapons are fired.

The missiles were unveiled at Blackheath last month and are expected to return in time for the Olympics to defend the city against a worst-case scenario 9/11-style attack, according to the MoD.

Bearing placards and waving peace flags, the demonstrators strode down the middle of Shooters Hill and along the South Circular Road which police cornered off for the event.

Residents and local groups backed the two hour march organised by Greenwich and Bexley Trades Council (GBT), Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and Stop the War.

Troops numbered 60 at the start and gathered supporters en route.

GBT spokesman Dave Putson said: "It was really good natured. There was a hell of a lot of support from people driving by.

"People were tooting their horns, shouting and saying 'carry on!'".

He added: "There has been an absolutely deafening silence from the military.

"We are still waiting for Philip Hammond to tell us why he thinks it is appropriate to place the missiles in our communities.

"They keep calling it ‘collateral damage’ but that basically means death and destruction."

Nearly 100 signatures were collected at Plumstead Make Merry festival for the wider South London Against Missiles campaign which is also running an online petition with GBT.

Woolwich and Riverside ward councillor John Fahy said: "People are obviously very worried about missiles being positioned in the centre of South East London communities and in Oxleas Wood.

"It is undemocratic and unfair that people were never consulted about this."

Responding to news of the protest, an MoD spokesman told News Shopper: "The MoD has conducted a number of engagements with local council officials and community groups to explain the requirement for using Ground Based Air Defence Systems as part of the Air Security Plan for the Olympics.

"We are now waiting for a decision to be made by the Government on whether they will be used. The MoD will conduct further engagement with local council and community groups if the decision is made to deploy Ground Based Air Defence Systems."

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