Protest disrupts Beijing Winter Video games torch-lighting ceremony

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Winter Olympics – Lighting ceremony of the Olympic flame for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics – Historical Olympia, Olympia, Greece – October 18, 2021 A cauldron and flame is held by a performer through the Olympic flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics REUTERS/Costas Baltas

ANCIENT OLYMPIA, Greece – Human rights activists unfurled a banner studying “No Genocide Video games” and known as for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics through the torch-lighting ceremony on Monday.

Two girls and a person sneaked previous a decent police cordon and entered the archaeological website of the traditional Greek stadium and temple the place the Olympic flame is historically lit and which had been sealed off for days.

They waved a Tibetan flag seconds after the torch was lit by an actress enjoying the position of excessive priestess on the Temple of Hera a number of meters away.

The three protesters shouted for a boycott of the Video games in Beijing, as invited officers, together with Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Worldwide Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach, appeared on.

The ceremony itself was not interrupted, as had been the case for the 2008 Beijing summer time Video games, and the activists, who didn’t attain the precise stadium or temple, have been shortly led away by police.

The Chinese language capital will turn into the primary metropolis to host each the Winter and Summer time Video games when it levels the Feb. 4-20 occasion however protests and requires boycotts over the nation’s human rights report have marred the run-up.

4 different activists have been detained by police exterior the stadium an hour earlier than the ceremony and brought to the native station. That they had not been charged but. Two extra have been arrested in Athens on Sunday after protesting on the Acropolis monument.

Activists are planning extra protests and a information convention on Tuesday when the flame can be official handed over to Beijing Video games organizers in Athens.

“The Olympic Video games can’t tackle all of the challenges in our world,” Bach mentioned in his tackle inside the traditional stadium previous to the protest.

“However they set an instance for a world the place everybody respects the identical guidelines and each other. They encourage us to unravel issues in friendship and solidarity.”

Rights teams and U.S. lawmakers have known as on the Worldwide Olympic Committee (IOC) to postpone the Video games and relocate the occasion except China ends what the US deems ongoing genocide in opposition to Uyghurs and different Muslim minority teams.

Chinese language authorities have been accused of facilitating pressured labor by detaining round one million Uyghurs and different primarily Muslim minorities in camps since 2016.

China denies wrongdoing, saying it has arrange vocational coaching facilities to fight extremism.

It was the second time, after the Beijing 2008 Video games, that the torch lighting ceremony was disrupted by protests by human rights activists, who had stormed that ceremony and repeatedly disrupted the worldwide torch relay that adopted.

“Underneath the strong management of the Chinese language authorities… we will and can ship a streamlined, protected and splendid Olympic Video games to the world,” Beijing Video games vice chairman Yu Zaiqing mentioned.

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