The memorial commemorating the victims of the July 7 bombings in London was defaced just hours before a memorial service was due to be held on the ninth anniversary of the attacks. The memorial, which consists of stainless steel columns in London’s Hyde Park, was daubed overnight with slogans such as “Blair Lied Thousands Died”, “4Innocent Muslims” and “J7 Truth”.
The vandalism has caused outrage among the families of the victims, with one saying it was aimed at causing “maximum grief”.
The Daily Mail reports that Ros Morley, whose husband was killed when a bomb went off on packed tube train at Edgware Road Underground station, said she was “sad” at the damage, but she would not let it affect her.
“It is sad that someone could stoop so low, to damage something that represents such a tragic event in the history of London.
“People have to pay their respects, so they (the culprits) should have thought before they acted in a terrible way.”
“I won’t let it affect me,” she added. “I’m looking past that, someone acted in a thoughtless way. I would say to the person who did this to think before they act. I would like them to think how they would feel if they were going to pay their respects to a loved one?”
The vandalism had been removed by midday, and the planned ceremony still went ahead. A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks said earlier: “We found it this morning. It has now been removed and the memorial can go ahead as planned. Obviously, we are very disappointed.”
At the ceremony, survivors of the blasts, as well as Mick Ellis, the fire chief who was responsible for responding to the attacks, paid tribute to the victims. A minute’s silence was also held before the names of the 52 people who perished were read out.
The 2005 bombings were carried out by Islamist extremists Hasib Hussain, Mohammad Sidique Khan, Germaine Lindsay, Shehzad Tanweer, who all perished.
A spokesman for the Tim Parry Jonathan Ball Foundation for Peace, who organised the ceremony said: “It’s disappointing that someone felt like they had to do this but everyone has rallied around to get it cleared up and that’s what London’s about.
“This is a day for the families and the survivors and we are pleased that it’s still able to go ahead.”
London Mayor Boris Johnson added: “I am shocked and saddened by this incident. It is completely unacceptable and the Metropolitan police is already investigating.
“I am pleased that the graffiti has been removed so quickly and that today’s commemoration ceremony can go ahead as planned.”
He added: “The focus today should be, and indeed will be, on honouring the 52 innocent people who died on 7/7, the survivors and all those affected by the terrible events of nine years ago.”
It remains unknown whether the culprits are hard-line Islamists or far-left militants.