Tibet exiles want torch relay axed

Activists plan protests in Olympia during ceremonies to light Olympic flame.

    Activists plan to protest during the torch ceremony, seen here during rehearsal, on Monday [AFP]

    Tenzin Dorjee was speaking in Olympia, Greece, a day before the Beijing Olympics torch-lighting ceremony in the birthplace of the ancient Games and the start of the torch relay.

     

    Planned protest

     

    Tibetan activists plan to stage protests on Monday as hundreds of police patrol the streets of the small town for fear of any disruptions to the widely televised ceremony and the start of the relay.

     

    "Carrying China's bloodstained torch through Tibet where we are seeing evidence of discontent would be adding insult to 50 years of injury," Tenzin Dorjee added.

     

    Tenzin Dorjee: Carrying China's "bloodstained"
    torch through Tibet would insult to injury [AFP]

    The IOC has approved the Games torch relay that includes Tibet and the peak of Mount Everest

     

    Jacques Rogge, the IOC president, said on Sunday that although the IOC was not a political organisation, the Games would bring positive change to China.

     

    But Tenzin Dorjee said "the IOC has so far not been able to bring more freedom to China".

     

    "I hold Mr Jacques Rogge and the IOC personally responsible for what happens in Tibet," he added.

     

    Human rights groups and other organisations have called for a tough stance against Beijing and even a boycott of the Olympics.

     

    The unrest in Tibet began when Buddhist monks demonstrated in Tibet's capital, Lhasa, on March 10, the 49th anniversary of a failed uprising against Chinese rule, and on subsequent days.

     

    Five days later anti-Chinese rioting shook the city and then spread to nearby Chinese provinces with large ethnic Tibetan populations.

     

    Chinese authorities say rioters killed 18 civilians and a policeman as well as injured hundreds.

     

    Thousands of Chinese troops have converged in Tibetan areas of western China, ready to clamp down on any signs of further unrest, and the authorities have admitted to shooting protesters.

     

    The Tibetan government-in-exile says the toll in the region is about 100.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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