ANTI-MISSILE protesters appear to have lost their battle against surface-to-air weapons being installed during the Olympics.

Yesterday the Ministry of Defence announced the missiles would arrive in Blackheath and Oxleas Meadow at the start of the Games following "a wide programme of engagement" with communities.

This appears to signal the final nail in the coffin for residents who have campaigned vigorously against the plans on health and safety grounds.

Greenwich and Bexley Trades Council spokesman Dave Putson said: "People are absolutely furious.

"The MOD, once again, has acted to make a decision to militarise our communities without consultation.

"They have not consulted with the most important people of all - those who live in the areas affected. It is offensive and antidemocratic."

Treasurer of campaign group Lewisham Stop the War, Michael Coulston, agreed saying: "I don't believe 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 they feel important."

He added he fears the Olympics is giving a feel of what life would be like to live under military occupation.

In a statement, Defence Secretary Philip Hammond said there were just a "small number of activists" who object to the decision.

He added: "Whilst there is no reported threat to the London Olympics, the public expects we put in place a range of measures aimed at ensuring the safety and security of this once-in-a-generation event."

Yet a petition of 1,000 signatures from East London against the rockets was handed to Parliament on June 27 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 anti-missile march in Blackheath last month.

The group's spokeswoman 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 it should have even been suggested."