WAG NY CHINA and the OLYMPICS JUSTICE AFTER ALL

April 7, 2008 at 1:31 pm 2 comments

WAG hopes this unified protest persists in honor of “human rights” and in memory of the hundreds of thousands of animals brutalized throughout China.

April 8, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay in Paris Halted as

Protests Spread

By KATRIN BENNHOLD and JOHN F. BURNS
New York TimesPARIS ­ What was supposed to be a majestic procession for the Olympic torch through the French capital turned into chaos Monday as thousands of people from around Europe, many with Tibetan flags, massed to protest the passage of the flame. The torch went out several times, and police officers had to put it onto a bus to try to protect it as demonstrators swarmed the security detail. In the end, organizers canceled the final leg of the procession.

A police spokeswoman, speaking on the condition of anonymity in accordance with policy, said the torch went out “for technical reasons” unrelated to the protests, without offering further clarification. CNN reported that the torch was extinguished at least twice amid the melee, and The Associated Press said officials were forced to extinguish the flame five times to carry it in the safety of the bus.

Despite tremendous security, at least two protesters got within almost an arm’s length of the flame before they were grabbed by police officers, The A.P. reported. Officers tackled numerous protesters to the ground and carried some away.

It was yet another unscripted moment in the passage of the Olympic flame, and the second time in two days that the torch relay had been disrupted in a European capital.

Some 3,000 police officers in Paris ­ on foot, horseback, in-line skates and motorbikes and even in boats on the Seine ­ tried to prevent a repeat of the scenes in London on Sunday, when the torch’s progression through the streets turned into a tumult of scuffles. One man broke through a tight security cordon in the London protests and made a failed grab for the torch, and 35 people were arrested.

China’s official Xinhua news agency on Monday condemned the “vile misdeeds” of protesters in London.

Before the torch encountered problems in France, a spokeswoman in Beijing for the city’s Olympic organizing committee said at a hurriedly organized news conference that the relay would continue on its international route regardless of protests. “The torch represents the Olympic spirit, and people welcome the torch,” said Wang Hui, the spokeswoman.

The news conference was apparently intended to address Sunday’s protests in London. Ms. Wang blamed the disruptions in London on a “few Tibet separatists” and described their actions as the work of saboteurs. She said Beijing’s Olympic organizers “strongly condemned” the Tibetan protesters.

“The general public is very angry at this sabotage by a few separatists,” she said. “During the torch relay, we met with some disturbances, but we believe that all the peace-loving people in the world will support the torch relay.”

Jacques Rogge, the president of the International Olympic Committee, used a meeting in Beijing to criticize the London protests, but also to call for a rapid and peaceful solution to confrontations in Tibet.

French authorities appeared determined to try to spare China ­ and Paris ­embarrassment or disorder similar to London’s, resorting to measures normally reserved for a visiting head of state. A police helicopter circled overhead, for example. Their efforts drew scorn from the French protesters who angrily noted the heavy police presence.

Officers with machine guns guarded sensitive Metro exits along the 17-mile route.

“One would almost think oneself in Lhasa,” said Jean-Paul Ribes, leader of the Support Committee of the Tibetan People in France, who was among the thousands massed on the Trocadero square, across the Seine from the Eiffel tower, where the flame began its passage through Paris. “It snowed last night, now the sky is blue ­ and police are everywhere,” Mr. Ribes said.

Many protesters ­ demonstrating against China’s human rights policies in general, or for a free Tibet, or simply for a boycott of the Olympics in Beijing ­ echoed a headline emblazoned across the front page of the left-wing daily Liberation, under a picture of the Olympic rings restyled as handcuffs: “Liberate The Olympic Games!”

Protesters came from all around Europe, including four busloads from Belgium. Lobsang Dechen, a 29-year-old Tibetan refugee living in Belgium for 4 ½ years, said Europeans should help the cause of Tibet by boycotting the Games. ‘’China does not deserve to be the host,” she said. ‘’They have to first learn to respect human rights in Tibet.’

Kevin Khayat, 19, a design student in Paris and a member of the International Federation for Human Rights, said sports should be separated from politics. “I am against a boycott, and in favor of human rights,” he said. He handed stickers to demonstrators urging: “Let’s keep our eyes open.”

In London on Sunday, the torch was relayed on a seven-hour journey from the new Wembley soccer stadium in the city’s northwest to the principal site for the 2012 Summer Olympics in Stratford in the east.

Along the way, numerous protesters seeking to reach the torch were wrestled to the ground by police officers. One man carrying a fire extinguisher narrowly failed to reach the person carrying the torch, but he set off the extinguisher anyway, dousing police officers with foam.

The torch’s London relay was the fourth stop of a global itinerary that began last month in Greece, where pro-Tibetan demonstrators briefly interrupted the torch’s lighting and its subsequent progress through Athens.

Tibetan organizations have said they plan protests at every stop on the torch’s 21-nation tour. After Paris, it moves to San Francisco, its only American stop, on Wednesday. The monthlong tour is scheduled to end in Vietnam; it is to be followed by a six-week, 46-stop tour of China.

The tour could prove jarring for Beijing. What organizers had billed as an occasion to celebrate the Olympics’ sporting ideals of peace and harmony is turning into a contest between China’s supporters and critics.

In London, more than 2,000 police officers were deployed; the security cordon around the torch was so dense that the flame and those carrying it were often barely visible to crowds.

Caught in the middle are foreign governments. Both Britain and France sought to protect delicate trade and diplomatic relations with China while supporting the Games and yet to also placate those who oppose holding the Olympics in a country with a harsh record for punishing dissent. The centerpiece of the torch parade Sunday was 10 Downing Street, where the Chinese contingent was greeted by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

Mr. Brown, like President Bush, has said he plans to attend the Games’ opening ceremonies in Beijing in August. That stand has drawn contrasts with the French president, Nicolas Sarkozy, who has hinted he may not attend if China’s recent crackdown on Tibetans does not relent.

Under pressure from human rights groups in Britain, Mr. Brown has voiced sympathy for the Tibetan protests. He has also said that he will meet the Dalai Lama in Britain next month, and that he has informed China’s leaders.

The most intense scuffles in London occurred as the torch moved through the heart of the city. The torch, which was carried by a chain of British sports heroes and television celebrities, was protected by an inner guard of Chinese security men in blue and white Olympic tracksuits and an outer cordon of yellow-jacketed British police officers. Some were on foot, while others rode bicycles, motorbikes or horses.

For one long stretch, where streets narrowed and crowds were heavy, the torch was placed in the back of a single-decker bus and driven past the crowds until the police judged it safe for the runners to resume.

The warmest reception for the torch came as it passed through the Chinatown area of central London — a diversion adopted to let the Chinese ambassador to Britain carry the torch.

A Chinese spokesman, Qu Yingpu, said Chinese officials were grateful to the police “for their efforts to keep order.” He added: “This is not the right time, the right platform, for any people to voice their political views.”

One protester who broke through the police cordon, David Allen, said his anger flared at the sight of British sports stars being guarded in London by Chinese security men.

“It makes us complicit in the regime’s repression,” Allen said. ”You have to ask: Where were these security men last week? Beating up people in the villages of China, no doubt.”

Katrin Bennhold reported from Paris, and John F. Burns from London. Jim Yardley contribut

 

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Entry filed under: CHINA, GLOBAL, HUMANITY, POLITICAL.

WAG NY CHINA – THE RAPE OF HUMAN RIGHTS WAG NY SERBIA A PROTEST!

2 Comments Add your own

  • […] PRESEDINTELE LPF, DUMITRU DRAGOMIR, AUDIAT LA DNA wrote an interesting post today on WAG NY CHINA and the OLYMPICS JUSTICE AFTER ALLHere’s a quick excerptIn London on Sunday, the torch was relayed on a seven-hour journey from the new Wembley soccer stadium in the city’s northwest to the… […]

    Reply
  • 2. curly  |  April 8, 2008 at 7:53 am

    It as a Black day for Gordon Brown and the UK govt.

    Reply

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