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"As long as human rights are violated, there can be no foundation for peace. How can peace grow where speaking the truth is itself a crime?"

Paris protests mar Olympic relay

April 8, 2008

French security officials have been forced to extinguish the Olympic
torch three times as it passes through Paris ahead of the Beijing Games
in August.

BBC News
Monday, 7 April 2008

Officials extinguished and put the torch on a bus for safety reasons, in
the face of anti-China protests.

The mayor of Paris cancelled a ceremony due to mark the torch relay
after activists hung a Tibetan flag from the city hall.

Police have made several arrests as protesters try to disrupt the relay.

The French protests came after 37 people were arrested during pro-Tibet
protests which disrupted Sunday's relay in London.

Earlier on Monday, the president of the International Olympic Committee
(IOC), Jacques Rogge, expressed concern over unrest in Tibet and the
torch protests.

'Olympic values'

Security in Paris has been extremely tight, with some 3,000 police on
duty, riding motorcycles, jogging or on skates.

About 500 protesters were reported to be involved in the demonstrations,
mainly near the Eiffel Tower.

Several hundred demonstrators waving banners gathered on the Trocadero
esplanade where the relay began at 1235 (1035 GMT).

A member of the French Green party was restrained by police after
attempting to grab the torch from the first of Paris's 80 torch bearers,
former world 400 metres hurdles champion Stephane Diagana, Reuters news
agency said.

Police were forced three times to put out the torch and carried it onto
a bus, as police cleared protesters from the route.

The flame itself has been kept alight the whole time in a safety lantern.

On the second occasion, the flame was being relayed out of a Paris
traffic tunnel by an athlete in a wheelchair when it was taken onto a
bus because protesters booed and began chanting "Tibet", the Associated
Press (AP) reported.

Speaking in Beijing earlier, IOC President Jacques Rogge said he was
concerned over both the recent unrest in Paris and the torch protests.

"The International Olympic Committee has expressed its serious concern
and calls for a rapid peaceful resolution in Tibet," Mr Rogge said.

He condemned the attempts to disrupt the torch relay, saying violent
protests, "for whatever reason," are "not compatible with the values of
the torch relay or the Olympic Games".

China said the protests during London's Sunday torch relay were the work
of "a few Tibetan separatists" attempting "to sabotage" the event, AP
reported.

London's relay saw protesters trying to douse and even snatch the
Olympic flame as athletes and celebrities carried it through the city.

The demonstrations have been sparked by China's security crackdown in
Tibet following a series of protests against Chinese rule which swept
the region last month.

Tibetan exile groups say Chinese security forces killed dozens of
protesters. Beijing says about 19 people were killed in rioting.

The torch was lit in Olympia, Greece, on 24 March and will go through 20
countries before being carried into the opening ceremony at the Beijing
Games on 8 August.
CTC National Office 1425 René-Lévesque Blvd West, 3rd Floor, Montréal, Québec, Canada, H3G 1T7
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