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Bid to extinguish Olympic torch foiled

April 8, 2008

Times of India

Pro-Tibet protesters clashed with police and tried to snatch and put out
the Beijing Olympic torch leading to the arrest of 10 people as the
flame was paraded in the British capital today (April 6).

Braving unseasonal snow and chilly weather, hundreds of people including
sizeable number of pro-Tibetan campaigners had lined up the route as the
torch relay passed through Ladbroke Grove, British Museum and China Town.

Champion rower Sir Steve Redgrave began what turned out to be a chaotic
relay taking the torch out of the newly renovated Wembley stadium.

Three people were arrested when protesters tried to board the bus
carrying the torch from the stadium after dodging the police.

Protesters later tried to snatch the torch from former Blue peter
presenter Konnie Huq and a fire extinguisher was let off.

At least 10 arrests have been made from various places following clashes
between pro-Tibet protesters, police said.

Police in hundreds provided a protective ring around the torch as it was
carried by bus, foot, boat and light railway past some of London's most
iconic sights.

Appeal to Brown

Pro-Tibet campaigners had appealed to British Prime Minister Gordon
Brown not to welcome the torch in Downing Street and to boycott the
Beijing Olympics unless China opened talks with the Tibetan spiritual
leader Dalai Lama.

But Brown resisted the calls pointing out that the exiled Tibetan leader
opposed such action.

"It is also important to recognise, when you ask the question about the
Olympic torch, that the Dalai Lama himself has said that he does not
want to see a boycott of the Olympics," Brown said yesterday.

Scuffles broke out along the route as hundreds of campaigners chanting
"Free Tibet" protested against China's human rights record and actions
in Tibet ahead of Beijing Olympics which are slated to start on August 8.

In London, host of the next Olympics in 2012, among those taking part in
the relay include ten Olympic champions, 18 schoolchildren and public
figures such as news reader Sir Trevor McDonald and musician Vanessa Mae.

Metropolitan Police said 2,000 officers are mobilised to maintain order
along the route of the relay.

The torch which was flown into London yesterday from St. Petersburg,
Russia, will move to Paris tomorrow where authorities have also deployed
massive security for the relay.

French Min denies setting terms for Sarkozy to attend Olympics

The French Human Rights Minister denied a report by a French paper
saying she had named three conditions for French President Nicholas
Sarkozy to attend the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics,
including China starting a dialogue with Tibetan spiritual leader the
Dalai Lama.

Rama Yade, minister in charge of foreign affairs and human rights, said
in a statement that she had "not used the word 'conditions,'"in denying
the report by Le Monde, a French paper.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner also said in a television
programme later in the day that France will not set any conditions.

Le Monde reported that Yade described the three conditions as an end to
violence against the Tibetan population and the release of political
prisoners, the shedding of greater light on the recent rioting and
crackdown in Tibet, and the opening of talks with the Dalai Lama, for
Sarkozy to attend the ceremony in August.

According to the French public radio station, Le Monde refuted the
statement and said it had faithfully reported Yade's remarks. The French
presidential office has refrained from commenting on the matter.
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