Monday, April 07, 2008

Olympic torch 'extinguished' twice by officials as anti-China demonstrations engulf Paris

The Olympic torch was extinguished twice by officials today amid noisy demonstrations in Paris today.
The move came after it was decided to put the flame on a bus when police were confronted by thousands of protesters. It was not immediately clear whThe news comes as it revealed the Metropolitan Police are locked in a row with Chinese officials over who was to blame for the torch relay farce which brought embarrassment to London.
Both sides claimed the other was in charge of the 31-mile parade through London which was supposed to be a celebration of this year's Games in Beijing and instead turned into a fiasco.
And International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge admitted he was "very concerned" over the demonstrations.
"I'm very concerned with the international situation and what's happened in Tibet," he said in a speech to the Association of National Olympic Committees in Beijing.
"The torch relay has been targeted. The IOC has expressed serious concerns and calls for rapid, peaceful resolution in Tibet."ether the torch was extinguished by accident. As many as 1,500 pro-Tibet demonstrators shadowed the relay over eight hours on Sunday as it passed from Wembley to Greenwich through central London and past the 2012 Olympic site at Stratford.
Commander Bob Broadhurst, the officer in charge of the route, had more than 1,000 officers at his disposal but consistently found them overstretched by the scale of the protests.He claimed the Beijing Olympics Organising Committee - Bocog - took all the decisions regarding the route and changes to the way the torch was carried.Mr Broadhurst said: "My log from yesterday is fullk of decisions where Bocog had made the call, not us. None of those decisions were made by us."
Wearing blue tracksuits, the hired 'thugs' barged protesters out the way and even shoved spectators in Downing Street, where the torch was greeted by Gordon Brown. As the surreal circus made its way through London, no one seemed able to prevent campaigners launching wave after wave of attack. Flashpoints included Downing Street and outside the British Museum where more than 2,000 activists massed to protest China's role in Tibet. Former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq was almost knocked to the ground as a demonstrator tried to snatch the torch from her.
Elsewhere, as 100 protesters besieged the parade on Fleet Street, the torchbearing party was forced to stage a "breakout" using a London bus to reach the safety of St Paul's Cathedral, where the procession resumed on foot. Security was progressively stepped up until more than 50 police officers wearing heavy stabproof vests were taking part in the bizarre marathon. Resembling the U.S. Presidential bodyguard, they jogged along forming a triple ring of steel around the torchbearers. The inner circle was a blue ring of 15 Chinese "flame attendants" flown in from Beijing to "protect" the torch.

Surrounding them were 17 yellow-jacketed police officers on foot - who had to complete the full length of the gruelling 31-mile parade. Some of them ran along wearing cycle helmets "so they could use cycles if necessary", said the Met. Looking ludicrous, they held hands as they ran in a chain to repel any protesters who breached the outer ring - which was made up of a further 40 beat officers in black uniforms. In all, around 2,000 Metropolitan Police - including airborne, mounted and river units - were mobilised for the eight-hour event. The Met was forced to explain the role of the Chinese 'goon army' of security guards who surrounded the flame at all times. Officially described as members of the Beijing organising committee, the burly minders were flown in specially for the event. They patrolled alongside London officers and seemed unafraid to get stuck in to the running battles with protesters.The Met later denied the Chinese guards had been given any special jurisdiction, a spokesman saying: "Their role is to protect the torch. They do not have any executive powers while in London. Police officers were on hand to deal with any incidents."Former Labour minister Frank Field said: "This is deeply damaging to the Government. We just look silly don't we?"The only way we are getting the flame through London is by using 'police state' tactics. "Many of my constituents phone and ask for police support against yobs and are told they haven't got anyone available - yet when you have got the torch coming through London for a dictatorial totalitarian regime there seems no end of police available to protect the torch." The protests, over China's human rights record and occupation of Tibet, began soon after rower Sir Steve Redgrave started the parade at Wembley at 10.30am. Within ten minutes, police had arrested three people who attempted to board the official bus. Around the same time, activists Martin Wyness and Ashley Darby were held at Ladbroke Grove as they waited with fire extinguishers to try to snuff out the flame. About 500 campaigners gathered at Downing Street where former Olympic heptathlon champion Denise Lewis arrived with the flame. As several attempted to run towards the torch, they were bundled to the floor by police. Those taking part in the relay included ten Olympic champions, 18 schoolchildren and public figures such as newsreader Sir Trevor McDonald. The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, last week and will go through 20 countries before being carried into the Beijing Games opening ceremony on August 8. The Prime Minister decided to greet it in Downing Street despite coming under pressure to boycott the parade and the Beijing opening ceremony. Opponents said Britain risked being seen as complicit with oppression, and recalled Chinese President Jiang Zemin's state visit in 1999 when police stopped protesters carrying the Tibetan flag, which is banned in China. In a classic piece of looking through rose-tinted spectacles, Liu Weimin, spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in London, said: "I was in the torch relay convoy today and I saw many people welcoming the arrival of the flame who were holding up banners of welcome to London.

"The people of London came out on this cold day to support the Olympic relay."

Asked if the Chinese would pick up the £1million bill for policing the event, he said: "This event was hosted by London so I cannot answer that."

Meanwhile in Paris, officials said that pro-Tibet protesters would "not get anywhere near" the Olympic flame.Police have secured a perimeter of some 200 yards around the torch as it is carried in relay by 80 runners on an 18-mile route from the Eiffel Tower to a stadium in the south of the capital.The torchbearers are protected by a cordon of 65 motorcycle police, 100 jogging firemen, another 100 police on roller blades and nearly 50 vehicles with more than 200 riot police.But mdia rights group Reporters Without Borders denounced the security arrangements.A spokesman said: "All that is missing is an appeal to Parisians to stay at home along the lines established in Beijing, where only officials welcomed the Olympic torch on a Tiananmen Square emptied of passers-by."

The Evening Stadard.

11 Don't Just Sit There Say Sumthin !:

Anonymous said...

Say something .. sure i will... a big "FUCK YOU".... If you think you are so good & something when the Malaysian come demanding an apology from the Queen, why ? because the british army gunned down 24 armless men, women & children in Malaysia cold-blood execution-style !....if you are what you claimed that you are, are you ? or you will try to twist and say all those are terrorists..i mean child terrorists as well. you bloody mother-fucker bigot !

wallycrawler said...

I say we sould all kill the "armless"! What fuck'n good are they? twit!!!

Your a coward!!!

I'd love to debate ya, but I don't have time to debate the cowards that support a country that lives off the slaves of the world.

Besides who fuck'n cares what the "Queen" did? Do I look British? Fuck'n moron? What does your country have to do with what's going on the in Darfur and many other African nations. Your government is responsible for hundreds of thousands, maybe millions of deaths, just to steel land, oil, gold, diamonds...etc.

So Fuck You Coward!

Your pretty quick to use the "Bigot" word. That usually comes out when the critique is losing his or her point. Shit you through that out in the first paragraph. Kind'a shows me that your pretty desperate to make a point!

Hey Dim-Wit maybe you should take a long bus ride? I hear your country gives them to the brightest students. I'm sure if you try there would be room in the back of the bus. Enjoy the country side!

Die Muräne said...

I thought about all this a lot lately. Hard topic. On one hand it's a good oportunity to show the world what's going on there..
Otherwise I think the olympics shouldn't used for politics.
I'm somewhere between...

Anyways, if it comes to making money noone seems to give a flying fuck as long as there's good business with China. Just a cryout and a boycott is not enough, I think. Everyone should think about his buying habitts for example

wallycrawler said...

D.M. I have been preaching that action for years and nobody is listening.
This is the start of a way to stop this country in it's tracks, this should be the first step. By a total boycott of the "Beijing Games".
"It would be a slap heard around the world". It would be the first blow to this corrupt, vile, murderous, government and the corporate companies that fuel it's corruption!
I think we should start with boycotting the games. Then advocates we should turn away every polluting ship that comes to our shores that hold goods made by child, and slave labour.

handmaiden said...

Hi wally! I despise those anonymous jerks! & yes they are cowards. if they care so much they need to get involved & not just run their mouths.
I made a poster to boycott the Beijing Olympics & put it in my window. it's a long story but the managment of my apartment building got complaints about my liberal views being posted in the window from people who are too chicken shit to come out & give their names or talk to me in person. It started before the Beijing poster, but apparently that was the last straw. I'm going to post about it sometime soon, but i do want you to know now that i have been very moved by your recent posts on the subject & have been coming here to get the latest word.

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