Monday, April 07, 2008

Olympic Torch Relay Cut Short

The Olympic torch relay in Paris has been cut short after chaotic protests by anti-China demonstrators.
The flame had already been extinguished four times by security forces after repeated clashes with pro-Tibet and human rights campaigners.
The city's mayor also cancelled a ceremony to mark the torch's passing as officials draped a Tibetan flag over the city hall's facade.
Mayor Bertrand Delanoe announced the cancellation after Green party members of the city council flew the flag.
Thousands of police sent on to the streets to protect the torch relay as it made its way around the city were unable to prevent demonstrators hijacking the event.
The torch had to be repeatedly extinguished amid safety fears caused by the demonstrations and several activists were arrested.
Two campaigners brandishing a Tibetan flag were arrested for trying to bar the torch's path.
And two members of media rights group Reporters Without Borders (RSF) - which disrupted the lighting of the flame in Athens - were held for trying to vault over the security cordon protecting the torch.
A member of the French Greens party had earlier been restrained by police when trying to grab the torch from the first of 80 torch bearers, former world 400m hurdles champion Stephane Diagana.
Several hundred demonstrators waving banners gathered on the Trocadero esplanade, just the other side of the river Seine from the Eiffel Tower, where the relay started.
Three RSF members climbed up the steel tower and unfurled a 13ft flag showing the five Olympic rings turned into handcuffs.
They then handcuffed themselves to the structure more than 200ft in the air.
Sky News Europe correspondent Greg Milam said extinguishing the flame was significant because the torch was supposed to be kept alight on its journey around the world.
"It's supposed to symbolise peace between nations," he said.
"It's clearly a massive blow to the organisers - the demonstrations along the route have had the desired effect."
Similarly chaotic scenes were seen when the Olympic flame was carried through London.
One demonstrator tried to snatch the torch from former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq, while another attempted to put out the flame with a fire extinguisher.
By the time double Olympic champion Dame Kelly Holmes lit a cauldron at the O2 Arena, some 37 arrests had been made.
International Olympic Committee chief Jacques Rogge has expressed concern at the demonstrations but said there was no momentum for a boycott of the Beijing Games.
Tibet's capital, Lhasa, was hit last month by Buddhist monks' protests against Chinese rule.
The demonstrations, which saw many people killed, sparked widespread media attention across the world.
HA! Serve the Chinese commie bastards right!!!