Protest in Athens as Beijing prepares for Olympic Games flame

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Activists held a brief protest early in the morning in the Greek capital’s Acropolis, with a Tibetan flag and a banner reading “Free Hong Kong – Revolution” on a scaffolding around the monument.

Among the detained activists were 18-year-old Tibetan student Tsela Zoxang and 22-year-old Joy Siu, a US citizen deported from Hong Kong.

The protests took place hours before dress rehearsals for the torch-lighting ceremony for Monday’s Games in Olympia, Greece.
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The Greek police, along with several dozen officers, were quick to stop the activists.

The Chinese capital would become the first city to host both the Winter and Summer Games when the event took place, but as was the case with the 2008 Beijing Olympics, protests over the country’s human rights record and calls for boycotts affected the run-up. Is. .

Rights groups and US lawmakers have met with the International Olympic Committee [IOC] To postpone the Games and move the event until China ends what the United States has regarded as an ongoing genocide against Uighurs and other Muslim minority groups.

Chinese authorities have been accused of facilitating forced labor by detaining nearly a million Uighurs and other predominantly Muslim minorities in camps since 2016.

China denies wrongdoing, saying it has set up vocational training centers to combat extremism.

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Sunday’s dress rehearsal at Olympia’s ancient stadium was interrupted by brief spells of rain and heavy clouds, with the torch not being lit by the sun’s rays through a parabolic mirror.

Instead, a backup flame from a previous rehearsal was used by an actress playing the High Priest.

More rain is expected on Monday, with human rights activists pledging more action until Tuesday’s flame is handed over to the organizers of the Chinese Games in Athens.

The flame ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Summer Games was also severely disrupted by protests from human rights activists, the start of international demonstrations over China’s human rights record leading up to the Olympics.


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