Beijing 2008 Olympic Torch Relay: ‘Ugly Scenes’ In London
The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s spiritual leader in exile, said in India that protests in Tibet contradicted the Chinese “propaganda” about people there enjoying a prosperous and contented life and made it clear that the issue “can no longer be neglected”. While in London the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games torch relay was reduced to “farce and ignominy” yesterday as ugly scenes of protest disrupted this leg of the tour that was billed as a journey of harmony and peace.
The Times of London reports that more than 35 protesters were arrested in a series of clashes with the police, who had to reroute part of the procession to protect the 80 runners. “Despite nearly a year of planning and the deployment of 2,000 officers, the Metropolitan Police were unable to stop protesters breaking through the security cordon at vulnerable points.
“In West London the torch was nearly taken from Konnie Huq, a former Blue Peter presenter. Two demonstrators tried to douse the flame with a fire extinguisher near Ladbroke Grove, and the human rights campaigner Peter Tatchell jumped in front of a relay bus in Oxford Street. The torch was diverted from foot to a bus at St Paul’s to avoid trouble.”
Meanwhile in India the Dalai Lama demanded a probe into the unrest in Tibet by an “independent and respected international body”. More here…
A report from Beijing says that 10 people were wounded when Chinese paramilitary police opened fire on a crowd of Tibetans protesting against limits on a prayer ceremony and demanding the return of the Dalai Lama, witnesses said. “The violence was in a remote town in western Sichuan province on Saturday, where monks at the Lingque temple had been joined by several hundred pilgrims for an annual ceremony, the Torgya, which is meant to exorcise evil elements from society.”