[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 
Greece Monday.

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, 
AP reported.

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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