Londoners have taken to the streets in protest against the governments plans to install surface-to-air missiles on roof tops for the Olympics
If the government values the security of its citizens it would take missiles out of Afghanistan rather than putting them in the East End of London, said Chris Nineham of the Stop the Olympic Missiles Campaign.
He was addressing local residents gathered in Mile End park, to protest Ministry of Defence plans to site a surface-to-air missile on the roof of the Bow Quarter tower block.
The campaign erupted after journalist Brian Whelan picked up a flyer from the MoD, informing Bow Quarter residents of the proposed missile site. Launching with a huge public meeting, activists went on to collect and deliver over 1000 signatures opposing the plans. Activists were informed at the rally today that the official decision on the missile sites has already been delayed, due in large part to the efforts of the campaign.
There was a broad consensus that the missiles were contributing to fear and insecurity in East London. Many of the speakers noted that, were the missiles to be deployed, the resulting debris would fall on the heads of ordinary Londoners. Respect Party chair Abjol Miah also pointed to the heavy over-policing of the East End in the run up to the Games, making it harder for a predominantly Asian population to walk the streets without fear of racial profiling.
The protesters marched down the Roman Road, ending at the Bow Quarter block itself. Organisers insisted this was just the beginning, and highlighted the massive steps the campaign had already made. With a promise to picket and blockade Bow Quarter if the plans went ahead, campaigners urged everyone to sign the petition and continue the fight.
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