Olympic missiles protest – 55 people and five policemen

Spotted in Charlton Park on Saturday afternoon – the protest march against the siting of missiles on Blackheath and Oxleas Meadows for the Olympics. It was good news for local police, as the Met decided five coppers were needed for the 55 people wandering from Shooters Hill to Blackheath.

So, not much more than the dismal turn-out for the NOGOE demonstration against the equestrian test events last July. I’m probably going to alienate any remaining readers with this point of view, but hey, here goes – it seems to me that the protest strikes that sweet spot between the obstinate NIMBYism of NOGOE and a certain political viewpoint that doesn’t want the Olympics because it involves awkward short-term compromises to corporate interests for what’ll hopefully be a longer-term gain.

But of all the things to moan about during the Olympics – chiefly, the transport reductions that’ll make it harder for local people to earn a crust during the Games – getting grumpy about small arms being used as a deterrent during a sensitive time seems to me to be unforgivably self-indulgent. Of course, you may disagree, and the communication with the public has been lamentable, but a few mini-rockets around the place will be the least of our worries in nine weeks’ time.


  1. I don’t agree – but sympathise with your point that really these are small protests that rely on people who essentially oppose the Olympics, rather than who may be up for the thing itself but don’t like a particular aspect of it -in this case the missiles.

    However, I think you downplay them too much. Obviously we both hope they wont be used and I suspect we both think it’s unlikely they will be needed – but they aren’t small arms (which refers to rifles, etc) they are surface to air missiles designed to shoot down planes.

    Now, even a little plane when shot down does a lot of damage when it hits the ground. The RAF has had a long standing no fire zone over London because a) whatever ordinence they use may well miss, and come down in a residential area potentially killing hundreds, b) if you shoot down a jumbo over London you are pretty much guaranteed to kill hundreds,possibly thousands.

    It’s one thing to have jets on scramble to shoot things down before they get to the city, but if you fire at planes over the city it’s a certainty you will kill innocent people and head off any possibility of a safe conclusion to an incident.

    These missiles are about posturing, and I think they genuinely make residents of London less safe. Before we allow our cities to become militarised zones I think it’s right that people it clear they are not happy about it.

    However, we may disagree on the issue, but I don’t think anyone has understood yet that you wont get a large protest by adopting an anti-Olympics stance, bringing in all the various, real, issues about th corporate games. To my mind this is probably not nimby *enough* and they should concentrate on the people in those estates on the single issue of the safety of residents.

    That’s my view anyway.

    Hope you’re doing well and had a good holiday 🙂

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