The Olympic torch had its 17.4-mile trip through Paris cut short yesterday after protesters in the French capital disrupted its journey at several points.
A few demonstrators got within a few feet of the Olympic symbol, and one person managed to throw water on it but did not succeed in dousing the flame.
Amid the chaos, the torch was snuffed out by officials and moved by bus five times.
The activists were protesting China’s record on human rights, especially in the region of Tibet. The Olympic Games are being held in China this August.
Supporters of China held their own demonstration in Paris.
The torch is lit daily by the flame from a lantern kept nearby. That flame was lit in Greece a few weeks ago and has continued to burn, causing one French sports official to say yesterday: “The torch has been extinguished, but the flame is still there.”
More than two dozen arrests were made, officials said.
On Sunday the torch was in London, England, where more than three dozen people were arrested for protesting… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <Washington Post>
I have some really mixed feelings on this issue. On the one hand, China’s human rights record, especially where Tibet is concerned is atrocious, and should be protested, not that the US has any room to talk about human rights, thanks to the GOP. On the other hand, the Olympics has historically been an apolitical event, a time for athletes from all nations to mingle and learn first hand that they are alike as people, despite their government’s differences, so I hate to the event politicized again.
There have been calls from several quarters for Bush to boycott the opening ceremonies.
Sen. Hillary Clinton called on President Bush Monday to boycott the opening of this summer’s Olympic Games in Beijing, China.
In a statement released by her campaign Monday, the New York senator pointed to recent protests in Tibet; and to the Chinese government’s failure to pressure the government of Sudan to end the violence in Darfur.
“These events underscore why I believe the Bush administration has been wrong to downplay human rights in its policy towards China,” said Clinton.
“At this time, and in light of recent events, I believe President Bush should not plan on attending the opening ceremonies in Beijing, absent major changes by the Chinese government.”
“Americans will stand strong in support of freedom of religious and political expression and human rights,” Clinton said. “Americans will also stand strong and root for the success of American athletes who have worked hard and earned the right to compete in the Olympic Games of 2008.”… [emphasis added]
Inserted from <CNN>
In this case, I’m going to disagree, although my reasons are a bit unconventional here. I think that boycotting the opening ceremonies is the right thing to do. When had Bush ever done the right thing? For him to now feign even the slightest concern for human rights would be the epitome of hypocrisy. Therefore Bush should attend with McConJob at his side, and leave the protesting to those worthy to do so.
Cross-posted from Politics Plus