Monday, March 31, 2008

Tibet Protest at Olympic Ceremony

Go to TruthOut original
Athens - Greek officials handed over the Olympic flame to organizers of the Beijing Summer Games on Sunday, but demonstrators angered by China's clampdown in Tibet sought to disrupt the ceremony, evading heavy security to unfurl protest banners.

Shouting "Free Tibet" and flashing red banners blaring "Stop Genocie in Tibet," the demonstrators charged into a police cordon, trying to block the torch runner carrying the Olympic flame from making the final 100-meter run into an Athens stadium.

Backed by riot squads, scores of police officers detained 10 of an estimated 15 demonstrators, taking them to Greece's national police headquarters minutes after the ceremony began.

Athens mounted a major security operation for the event, deploying more than 1,000 police officers and changing the flame's route at least three times to prevent activists from upstaging Sunday's ceremony.

Yet even before the hand-over began, three supporters of the Falun Gong spiritual movement were detained outside the sprawling all-marble Panathinaiko Stadium for distributing leaflets on the movement, which is outlawed in China.

"They continue to remain in police custody and we have been given no reason by the authorities for their arrest," the Falun Gong supporters' lawyer, Ignatios Tatoulis, said.


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