The memorial commemorating the victims of the July 7 bombings on London was defaced just hours before survivors and bereaved families gathered to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the attacks.
The stainless steel columns of the memorial in Hyde Park, central London, were daubed with red and black slogans overnight with the messages “4Innocent Muslims” “Blair Lied Thousands Died” and “J7 Truth”.
A spokeswoman for the Royal Parks said the slogans had now been removed after they were discovered early this morning by the park’s manager.
She said: “We found it this morning. It has now been removed and the memorial can go ahead as planned. Obviously, we are very disappointed.”
A picture posted on Twitter by broadcast journalist James Banks, for London Live, showed the full extent of the defacement.
The monument honouring the 52 dead in the attack on London’s transport system in 2005 cost nearly £1 million and has 52 stainless steel columns, or stelae, 11.5ft (3.5m) tall.
It was unveiled in 2009 at a memorial attended by the Prince of Wales, the then Prime Minister Gordon Brown and other political leaders.
The columns are grouped together in four clusters, reflecting the separate locations of the bombings - Tavistock Square, Edgware Road, King’s Cross and Aldgate.
Four suicide bombers from West Yorkshire detonated their rucksack devices near these locations on the morning of July 7 2005, killing the 52 and injuring hundreds of others, some seriously.
The bombers included former Rawthorpe High School student Jermaine Lindsay and Dewsbury man Mohammed Siddique Khan.
Lindsay’s former wife Samantha Lewthwaite is now officially one of the world’s most wanted woman, having been blamed for a series of terrorist atrocities in East Africa.
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said: “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.
“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.”
Want to read, watch and hear more? You can download the FREE Examiner Apple App here , the FREE Examiner Android App here or you can view the paper as an e-edition on your Apple, Android or Kindle device by clicking here
To follow us on Twitter click here