Olympics-Protest disrupts Beijing Games torch-lighting ceremony

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Olympics-Protest disrupts Beijing Games torch-lighting ceremony © Reuters. Winter Olympics - Lighting ceremonial of the Olympic occurrence for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics - Ancient Olympia, Olympia, Greece - October 18, 2021 A cauldron and occurrence is held by a performer during the Olympic occurrence lighting ceremonial for the Beijing 2022


By Karolos Grohmann

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece (Reuters) - Human rights activists unfurled a banner speechmaking "No Genocide Games", waved a Tibetan emblem and called for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics during the torch-lighting ceremonial connected Monday.

Two women and a antheral sneaked past a choky constabulary cordon and entered the archaeological tract of the past Greek stadium and temple wherever the Olympic occurrence is traditionally lit and which had been sealed disconnected for days.

They held up a Tibetan emblem seconds aft the torch was lit by an histrion playing the relation of precocious priestess astatine the Temple of Hera a fewer metres away.

The 3 protesters shouted for a boycott of the Games successful Beijing, arsenic invited officials, including Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, looked on.

The ceremonial itself was not interrupted, arsenic had been the lawsuit for the 2008 Beijing Summer Games, and the activists, who did not scope the existent stadium oregon temple, were rapidly led distant by police.

Greece's Olympic Committee (HOC), successful complaint of organising the event, said it was disappointed the ceremonial had been utilized for governmental purposes. The IOC, erstwhile asked for a comment, referred to the HOC statement.

"The lighting of the Olympic occurrence represents 3000 years of Greek past and a committedness to bid and dialogue," the HOC said.

"While the HOC respects idiosyncratic rights to state of expression, it is disappointing that this accepted taste lawsuit has been utilized by a fewer individuals for different purposes."

The Chinese superior volition go the archetypal metropolis to big some the Winter and Summer Games erstwhile it stages the Feb. 4-20 lawsuit but protests and calls for boycotts implicit the country's quality rights grounds person marred the run-up.


Four different activists were detained by constabulary extracurricular the stadium an hr earlier the ceremonial and taken to the section station. They person not been charged. Two much were arrested successful Athens connected Sunday aft protesting astatine the Acropolis monument.

Activists are readying much protests and a quality league connected Tuesday erstwhile the occurrence volition beryllium officially handed implicit to Beijing Games organisers successful Athens.

"The Olympic Games cannot code each the challenges successful our world," Bach said successful his code wrong the past stadium anterior to the protest.

"But they acceptable an illustration for a satellite wherever everyone respects the aforesaid rules and 1 another. They animate america to lick problems successful relationship and solidarity."

Rights groups and U.S. lawmakers person called connected the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Games and relocate the lawsuit unless China ends what the United States deems ongoing genocide against Uyghurs and different Muslim number groups.

Chinese authorities person been accused of facilitating forced labour by detaining astir a cardinal Uyghurs and different chiefly Muslim minorities successful camps since 2016.

China denies wrongdoing, saying it has acceptable up vocational grooming centres to combat extremism.

It was the 2nd time, aft the Beijing 2008 Games, that the torch lighting ceremonial was disrupted by protests by quality rights activists, who had stormed that ceremonial and repeatedly disrupted the planetary torch relay that followed.

"Under the robust enactment of the Chinese government... we tin and volition present a streamlined, harmless and splendid Olympic Games to the world," Beijing Games vice president Yu Zaiqing said.

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