Britain to put missiles over apartments for Olympics
LONDON - Agence France-PresseBritain’s military has told residents of an upscale apartment development near the Olympic Park in east London it is installing a missile battery on top of a tower within their housing complex to defend the 2012 games this summer.
The site is one of a number around the capital the army is considering as bases for surface-to-air missiles to protect the London games from an aerial attack, the Ministry of Defense said. It is the first time such missiles have been deployed in London since the end of World War II, shocking some residents at the Bow Quarter housing development, sited in a converted red-brick Victorian match factory.
Same in Beijing 2008
“There was no consultation, no one knocked on the door,” Brian Whelan, a 28-year-old journalist, told Reuters. “You just wake up one morning, there’s a leaflet telling you they are going to put missiles on the roof.” Defense Secretary Philip Hammond first announced the plans in November, saying Britain would follow the precedent set by previous Olympics such as the Beijing games in 2008 where surface to air missiles were stationed a kilometer south of its showpiece stadiums.
The defense ministry said in a leaflet sent to occupants on April 28 it had chosen the former water tower in the Bow Quarter complex because it offered “an excellent view of the surrounding area and the entire sky above the Olympic Park.” The tower was in fact “the only suitable site in this area for the HVM (High Velocity Missile) system,” it added.