[permaculture] Protest as Olympic torch is lit - CNN.com
Lawrence F. London, Jr.
lflj at intrex.net
Mon Mar 24 10:49:16 EDT 2008
OLYMPIA, Greece (CNN) -- A protester managed to breach the tight security during the Olympic torch lighting ceremony in
Policemen detain a protester as he holds a banner at the beginning of the flame-lighting ceremony.
The man rushed behind the podium as China's Olympic chief was speaking.
He unfurled a banner, but was quickly apprehended by security who escorted him away.
Meanwhile committee chief Liu Qi continued to make his speech in Chinese while the commotion went on behind him. Two
other men were also detained.
China state TV cut away from the protest and showed a prerecorded scene, preventing Chinese viewers from seeing the
incident, according to The Associated Press. Chinese television commentators did not mention the demonstration.
The torch was lit moments later as it began its epic began its 130-day, 137,000-kilo meters (85,000-miles) journey.
Later on Monday, a Tibetan woman covered herself in red paint and lay in front of a runner carrying the Olympic torch
while other protesters chanted "Free Tibet" and "Shame on China," AP said.
China's human rights records has been under scrutiny from the international committee in the lead-up to what promises to
be one of the most controversial Olympic Games in recent times. Video Watch footage of protester disrupting torch ceremony »
Anti-China protests began in Tibet's main city, Lhasa, on March 10 and gradually escalated. Lhasa saw at least two days
of violence and there have also been violent protests in provinces which border Tibet. Chinese officials reported the
death toll at 22 from Chinese officials, while the Tibetan government said at least 99 people lost their lives.
Reporters Without Borders, a group based in France that seeks to protect journalists around the world, claimed
responsibility for the protest. View map of all countries torch will visit »
The group said three members, including the group's secretary general Robert Menard, managed to get into the ceremony
without being stopped with flags.
"If the Olympic flame is sacred, human rights are even more so," the group said in a statement. "We cannot let the
Chinese government seize the Olympic flame, a symbol of peace, without denouncing the dramatic situation of human rights
in the country."
Meanwhile, a Chinese activist who called for human rights ahead of the Olympics was sentenced to five years in prison,
Yang Chunlin had gathered more than 10,000 signatures for an open letter titled "We want human rights, not the
Olympics." He was charged with subverting the power of the state, a charge authorities in China commonly use the charge
to clamp down on dissent.
The most controversial leg of the torch relay is planned for June, when it is scheduled to be carried through Tibet and
three neighboring provinces where violent unrest broke out this month.
Olympic officials insisted last week that the relay in these areas will proceed as planned.
"All the preparations for the torch relay in Tibet, Xinjiang, Qinghai and Gansu are proceeding very well," Beijing
Olympics organizer Jiang Xiaoyu said.
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