‘TANKS ON YOUR LAWNS’ – warns Olympics missiles solicitor


‘If this is allowed to go ahead then the precedent that has been set is that tanks can turn up on your lawn, missiles can go onto your roof, soldiers can be in your house, without having to speak to you about it beforehand, whatsoever.’

Martin Howe, from Howe and Co Solicitors, representing the residents of Fred Wigg Tower in Tower Hamlets, East London, was speaking outside the High Court yesterday, attempting to win an injunction to stop the government from placing Rapier missiles on the roof of the housing block.

The government claim that they want to place the surface-to-air missiles on the roof of Fred Wigg Tower in case of a ‘terrorist attack’ on the Olympics.

Howe said: ‘We’re saying that if soldiers and missiles come into your home, that has an interference with the way you go about your daily life and that is an interference that is unlawful and breaches human rights.

‘An Englishman’s home is his castle and the idea that the Ministry of Defence can just role up and put weapons on top of a roof without having so much as a word of consultation with you beforehand is a frightening development.’

He added: ‘It’s not just a lack of consultation, it’s zero consultation. The Ministry of Defence are saying in court here today that they did not consult with the tenants.

‘They did not consult with the people most affected by this deployment of high velocity missiles on top of their roofs, while they go about their daily business and sleep at night.’

Chair of Stop the War Coalition, Chris Nineham, who is one of the organisers of Stopolympicmissiles campaign group, told News Line: ‘Most people, if told they were going to have high explosives on top of their housing block, would say that that is not a good idea.

‘There will also be scores of armed soldiers circulating around the area twenty-four-seven.

‘If there was an accident with the missiles or the soldiers it would be disaster.

‘If for any reason, heaven forbid, the missiles were fired then there might well be collateral damage on the block itself.

‘The Rapier missiles have a range of three to five miles, so there could be a big explosion over some of the most densely populated parts of London.

‘The Olympics is a celebration of human endeavour and international co-operation. Hosting the Olympics is not actually an act of war.

‘There is an element of paranoia around the Olympics that is driving the government to do the most absurdly dangerous things. This is a madness that needs to be stopped!

‘There is also an element of a tendency towards the militarisation of society and the militarisation of the games itself. It is as if the games are becoming a festival for promoting global security systems.’

A local resident said: ‘Last Christmas there was a terrible fire in Fred Wigg Tower and all the residents had to be moved out over Christmas.

‘The council have still not dealt with all the issues of compensation and insurance because everyone’s flats were either fire damaged or drenched in water.

‘I for one am not for armed intervention and am against this increasing militarisation, which is not going to make people safer.

‘Surface-to-air missiles will not keep the Olympics safe and should not be used.’

The judge at the High Court said yesterday afternoon that he would give his ruling about the injunction at 10.30am this morning.