| LONDON, April 29
LONDON, April 29 Britain'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
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 Defence
It is the first time such missiles have been deployed in
London since the end of World War Two, shocking some residents
at the Bow Quarter housing development, sited in a converted
red-brick Victorian match factory.
"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."
The measure was excessive and had upset his girlfriend, he
said. "I can't imagine the circumstances that would require you
to fire missiles over a highly populated area."
Defence 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 kilometre south of its
The defence ministry said in a leaflet sent to occupants on
Saturday 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.
The rooftop missile battery is one of a number of
extraordinary measures Londoners can expect during the
high-profile sporting festival, including restrictions on road
lanes for Olympic use and a security bill of more than a
billion pounds ($1.6 billion).
($1 = 0.6159 British pounds)
(Editing by Eric Walsh)