London will not be ‘Siege City’ for Games, says Coe

LONDON: The Olympics will not turn London into ‘Siege City’ despite plans to deploy surface-to-air missiles on residential buildings and fighter jets in the skies, London 2012 chairman Seb Coe said on Wednesday.

Speaking at the Olympic stadium at the start of a week of test events that coincide with a major Olympic security exercise in the city, Coe assured reporters that the right balance would be found.       

“We will have contingencies in place for all possible eventualities,” he said.       

“That’s exactly the testing process that is taking place now ... but let me make it really clear – the challenge of delivering the right level of security at an Olympic Games is not just simply about how can you lock down everything.

“We are inviting people to come to London to celebrate the greatest sporting event that this country has ever seen. We are not inviting people to Siege City.”       

Some residents of an apartment block overlooking the Olympic Park complex in east London have been alarmed in recent days to discover that their building is a proposed site for a rooftop missile battery.       

Others have questioned the deployment of missiles in city centre locations, arguing that they pose an unnecessary risk to civilians, give terrorists more respect than they deserve and dent the Olympic spirit.       

Military chiefs say this week’s manoeuvres involving members of the air force, soldiers and sailors are necessary contingency measures for what will be Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation. — Reuters       

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