China hits out at Olympic protests

Beijing condemns "vile" London protests as IOC chief expresses "concern" over Tibet.

    Some 35 people were arrested for protests in London which China called "vile" [Reuters]

    The huge secruity contingent struggled to stop

     activists taking the torch in London [AFP]

    The comment appeared to strike a different tone from another Rogge made on Saturday, saying that the IOC had no regrets about choosing Beijing to host the Olympics and calling it a "wise choice".


    In London, 35 people were arrested after thousands of anti-China protesters draped in Tibetan flags disrupted the torch relay on Sunday.


    Chinese security officers in blue tracksuits and scores of British police on foot and bicycles encircled the celebrities and athletes carrying the flame but demonstrators repeatedly broke through their cordon.


    Torch grab


    One protester tried to grab the torch, while another tried to snuff out the flame with what appeared to be a fire extinguisher.


    Olympic torch relay

    Modern tradition of torch relay began in 1936 at Berlin Olympics


    This year's is the longest ever, travelling



    The torch will visit 19 nations over 130 days


    First destination is Kazakhstan


    On the final leg, it will travel throughout China, including Tibet and the

    summit of Mount Everest


    Click here to go to the official torch relay site

    (Al Jazeera is not responsible for the content of external websites)

    The group of police guarding the Olympic torch at one point were forced to hustle it on to a double-decker bus when about 100 protesters tried to seize it.


    Chinese state television and the English-language China Daily newspaper focused on the larger crowds of well-wishers who lined the route and British sports celebrities holding the torch, showing little or nothing of the protests.


    French police have, meanwhile, beefed up their presence as they prepare for the torch's arrival in Paris on Monday.


    About 3,000 French police, some on skates and motorbikes, others on patrol boats and even a helicopter, will try to protect the Olympic torch as it is taken through the capital.


    Paris police say they have an elaborate security plan to keep the torch in a safe "bubble" as pro-Tibet activists have threatened to disrupt the torch relay there.

    About 80 athletes will carry the torch over a 28-km route that starts at the Eiffel Tower and crosses over the Seine river before ending at the Charlety track and field stadium.


    French 'Tiananmen Square'


    The head of Reporters Without Borders, arrested in Greece last month for protesting during the flame-lighting ceremony there, promised "spectacular" protests despite the heavy police turnout.


    The international Olympic torch relay continues
    to spark anti-China anger [Reuters]

    Robert Menard criticised France for caving in to demands from Beijing to introduce tight security measures.


    "The Chinese have made sure that for a few hours, Paris will look like Tiananmen Square. I think it's shameful," he said.


    The Olympic torch is expected to remain a magnet for anti-Chinese protests ahead of the August Games in Beijing, with campaigns aimed at China's crackdown in Tibet as well as its links with Myanmar's military rulers and Sudan's Darfur region.


    Tibet's capital, Lhasa, was hit last month by protests against Chinese rule that drew a strong reaction from Beijing and left many dead.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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