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Tibet Protesters Unfurl Signs in Greece

March 28, 2008

THESSALONIKI, Greece 28 March 2008 (AP) — About a dozen pro-Tibetan
protesters unfurled banners in a central square shortly before the
Olympic torch relay arrived in the city on Thursday.

The protesters, most of them Greeks, gathered in the square in this
northern city about half a mile away from the route of the torch for the
Beijing Olympics. They were being watched by about 50 police.

The banners read: "China is not worthy of the flame," and "China stop
killing Tibet." The protesters were wearing T-shirts with "Free Tibet"
written across the front.

The flame arrived in Thessaloniki later without any problems. Hundreds
of people turned out in the port city's central Aristotelous square,
where the Olympic flame was to spend the night before heading south on
Friday.

Police said they briefly detained two Falun Gong members who tried to
unfurl a banner at another part of the city center shortly before the
flame arrived.

It was unclear what was on the banner. The two were taken to a nearby
police station but released less than half an hour later, after the
torch relay arrival.

Thursday's demonstration occurred after two separate protests disrupted
the flame lighting ceremony on Monday at Ancient Olympia — by a group of
French reporters and pro-Tibetan protesters — despite the deployment of
1,000 police officers at the ancient site.

Police are bracing for possible protests in Athens where the torch relay
is due over the weekend before it is flown to China.

The flame will spend Saturday night at the Acropolis and be handed over
to Chinese organizers Sunday at the Panathenian Stadium, where the first
modern Olympics were held in 1896.

Protesters are angry at China's handling of deadly riots in Tibet
earlier this month and want the torch route to be changed to exclude Tibet.
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