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ICO Threaten to Scrap Torch Relay

  • April 9th, 2008
  • Posted by Emma Cillekens

olympic-rings.gifPro-Tibetan protests may put a halt to the Olympic torch relay, ahead of the games in Beijing.

The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has threatened to cancel the torch relay if the protests continue.
Their executive board will consider the future of the 70-year-old tradition in talks starting tomorrow.

IOC President Jacques Rogge said it could mean canceling this years’ torch relay, and that of future games.

He said he was “deeply saddened” by the violent protests on the torch’s journey so far.

The talks come after two days of chaotic protests as the torch moved through Paris and London.

The relay was cut short in Paris yesterday after continuing disruptions by groups protesting China’s involvement with human rights issues in Tibet.

Chinese organisers canceled the last third of the relay after protesters climbed the Eiffel Tower, grabbing for the flame, forcing security officers to extinguish the torch repeatedly and transport it by bus.

Three thousand police officers were deployed across the capital, on motorcycles, in jogging gear and using inline skates.

The torch will be in San Francisco tomorrow and is due in Australia (Canberra) on 24.4.08

Because of security concerns the route has already been shortened.

Former swimming champion, Susie O’Neill, believes the torch relay should be abandoned, as the trouble is ruining the build-up to the games.

“Every day, everybody is talking about the Olympics but you’ve got bad publicity. So I’d probably just scrap it if it was me, ” she said.

“In retrospect I suppose it was pretty obvious that it was going to happen, [but] I just get a little bit angry when people use the Olympics as their protesting forum.

“It seems a little bit unfair to me,” she said.

China Condemns Pro-Tibetan Protesters

Meantime Chinese officials have condemned the disruption of the Olympic torch relay in London and Paris.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Jiang Yu commented after attempts by a handful of Tibetan separatists in London and Paris to disrupt the Beijing Olympic (6-7.4.08).

“We express our strong condemnation to the deliberate disruption of the Olympic torch relay by ‘Tibetan independence’ separatist forces regardless of the Olympic spirit and the law of Britain and France. Their despicable activities tarnish the lofty Olympic spirit and challenge all the people loving the Olympic Games around the world,” said Jiang.

She added that China is convinced that nobody can impede the Olympic spirit and the concept of “peace, friendship and progress” represented by the Olympic torch.

Reference:

CNJN News “China condemns disruption of Olympic torch relay in London, Paris”
http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2008-04/08/content_7936077.htm, (9.4.08)

ABC. Scrap Torch Relay O’Neil. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2008/04/09/2211659.htm (9.4.08)

ABC. San Francisco braces for torch protests. http://abcnews.go.com/Sports/story?id=4609265&page=1 (8.9.08)

ABC. Olympic Torch Relay Descends Into Chaos http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=4601704 (7.9.08)

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