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2012 Olympics: London's ring of steel

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2012 Olympics: London's ring of steel


Britain’s biggest peacetime security operation is underway in London, as athletes and spectators pour into the capital for the Olympic Games.

A ring of steel has been thrown around venues, accommodation and viewing sites for the international sporting event.

“We are expecting around a million more people to come to London every day,” said Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport.

“Just in terms of a security challenge this is the equivalent of hosting 36 world championships, all at the same time. We may this week have more than 100 heads of state,” he continued.

The security operation has recently come in for criticism. There have been some last minute changes after a private firm, G4S, failed to recruit enough guards.

The company was due to provide 10,400 guards, but has only been able to come up with 5,800.

The government has been forced to bring in extra police officers and troops to make up the shortfall. In total, 18,200 troops are now being deployed.

Does it mean security will be compromised? Not according to the government’s security minister, who has spoken to euronews.

“We have the police working with the military, working with the organising committee, working with security providers, and others,” said James Brokenshire, Security Minister.

“Therefore, it is this collaborative approach that will help to deliver the robust safety and security plan that we have in place.”

Not everyone in London is happy to see the capital being militarised for the Games. Missile launchers on the top of apartment blocks have been particularly controversial and the subject of legal action.

With the deployment too of a helicopter carrier on the River Thames and Typhoon jets, it seems organisers are leaving nothing to chance in the capital.

Meanwhile, emergency teams have been undergoing specialist training to rehearse their response to any incident.

A day after London won the 2012 Olympics, there were suicide bomb attacks on the capital’s transport system.

The Games themselves have also been targeted in the past.

In 1996, a bomb at the Atlanta Games left two people dead and more than one hundred injured.

A Palestinian attack in Munich in 1972 saw 11 members of the Israeli team killed.

Now , forty years on, Israel has reportedly been bolstering its security presence for the London Olympics, amid fears of another attack.

Every story can be told in many ways: see the perspectives from Euronews journalists in our other language teams.

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