Londoners launch action against Olympic missiles

British residents living near London's Olympic Park launched legal action Thursday over government plans to station surface-to-air missiles on the roof of their rented flats.

Lawyers for residents of the Fred Wigg Tower in Leytonstone, east London, say proposals to deploy the missiles on the block of more than 100 local-authority owned flats is a breach of tenants' human rights.

Britain's Ministry of Defence (MoD) is considering deploying the weapons across six sites in the capital during the Games to help combat any possible airborne terror threats to the Olympic Games.

"A high-velocity missile system may be situated on the roof" and 10 soldiers stationed in the building for two months for the Games, which start on July 27, according to a leaflet distributed to residents.

Solicitors lodged papers Thursday at the Royal Courts of Justice, seeking an injunction on behalf of residents to stop the missiles being based on their tower block.

Tenants are also applying for a judicial review on the grounds that their human rights have been breached because they were not consulted over the proposals.

"It is incredible that the MoD think it acceptable to present women, children and men living in a block of flats in a densely populated residential area of east London with the fait accompli of having a live high explosive missile salvo above their heads whilst they go about their daily chores and whilst they sleep at night," said Martin Howe, a lawyer acting for the residents.

"Security of the Olympics is of course extremely important but could the MoD not find any other way of protecting the Olympic village than by putting the lives of hundreds of innocent council tenants at risk by turning their homes into a military battlefield position?"

The MOD said it had held meetings with local lawmakers and residents in areas where missiles could be installed.

Leaflets handed to residents say the missiles would only be used in the event of "specific orders from the highest levels of government in response to a confirmed and extreme security threat".

A security force of more than 40,000, backed by a huge intelligence operation, will guard venues, athletes and the millions of visitors expected to throng the British capital for the Games.

A Starstreak high velocity missile system, which could play a role in providing air security during the Olympics, is manned by members of the British Royal Artillery during a media demo in southeast London in May 2012. British residents living near London's Olympic Park launched legal action Thursday over government plans to station surface-to-air missiles on the roof of their rented flats.

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