Bunny who?

Why? Who? What's this blog about? It's about MEEEE!

Being a Widow

My experience of dealing with grief as a widow


About Jane's brain tumour journey: Astrocytoma.co.uk

Olympic Torch Relay: I predict a riot

07 April 2008

British people like nothing more than a good protest. If there is an opportunity to protest & moan, they will do so with gusto. And good for them. That is their right in a democracy. So I was very happy yesterday that the Olympic Torch Relay through London was totally overshadowed by protesters, demanding attention for China's outrageous politics, especially in Tibet.

However, I do not agree with people attacking the Torch Runners. The Olympics are a sporting event, not a political one. you can not blame people for wanting to participate in a sporting event. by all means, wave your flag and protest, make things as difficult as possible for China, make the world think of Tibet and human rights abuse instead of sport. But do not break the law. Show China what a democracy does: it gives people the right to voice their opinion in a peaceful way. Do not give China ammunition to say: See, that is why we ban protests because it leads to riots. Even the Dalai Lama has called for the Olympics to go ahead so that the world can force China to make changes. Why do protesters say they support the Dalai Lama and then ignore his opinion on this?

I felt the Metropolitan Police did a great job yesterday. They started out with low-level policing but when it became clear the protests became too much trouble, they brought in more police to protect the relay, at some point even abandoning the event and putting the whole thing on a bus along an unscheduled route to avoid protesters. What was their other option: hit protesters with their batons and fighting their way through the streets? Now THAT would have made Western democracies look good. In fact, that would only have strengthened China in its idea that banning free speech is good for keeping the peace.

The official Chinese news agency Xinhua says that attempts to sabotage the relay "will surely arouse the resentment of peace loving people". They dismissed the protests as the work of a few Tibetan separatists. If the protests are peaceful, I think there will be more resentment about the 19 people killed in Tibet yesterday than about people shouting Free Tibet along the roads of London.

The whole thing is a PR nightmare for China. Instead of spreading harmony, the Torch Relay looks like a military operation with 3 rows of police cordons to protect the torch and protesters waving Tibetan flags all over the world.

Shame the Chinese and Tibetan people will of course not see any of it. They will just get the picture of Gordon Brown smiling at the Torch.Maybe not a smart move after all.


Anonymous said...

I wonder what the Chinese will think of us Europeans now after this: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/europe/7334545.stm Well what did we/they/you expect?

Post a Comment