The torch relay becomes a new Olympic sport
April 6, 2008 3 Comments
oh look, how nice, people coming together over the Olympic torch…
From the BBC on April 6, 2008: “One protester tried to snatch the torch from former Blue Peter host Konnie Huq.”
Looks like they’ve found a new competition for Olympic athletes:
“Outside Downing Street there were chaotic scenes as former Olympic heptathlon gold medallist Denise Lewis took the flame.”
From the Associated Press: “Another demonstrator tried to snuff out the flame with what appeared to be a fire extinguisher. Others in the crowd threw themselves at torchbearers running past in official Beijing 2010 Olympics tracksuits.”
The BBC reports that there have also been unannounced changes to the torch route and that the torch has been carried partway by bus to avoid protesters.
It does look like they need the fastest people alive to stay ahead of the protesters:
From the Telegraph on April 6, 2008: A smoke bomb was let off in the Bayswater Road area…
… So far the police have made around twenty arrests along the route.
and that is just the opening part of the eight hour event…
From the BBC, video of the protester trying to grab the torch:
and a description of what happened by the person carrying the torch at the time:
“… as I was running with the torch a guy broke out from the crowd and wrestled the torch, or tried to wrestle the torch off me.
“I was determined to hang on, it was all a bit of a shock, for a while I was wrestling with it, then they wrestled him to the ground. There were so many people and everyone was shouting ‘just keep going’. It was a bit surreal.”
a video of the fire extinguisher attempt is available from the BBC.
MSNBC reports on the Paris protests:
The Olympic torch was extinguished and put on a bus for protection at least twice Monday as it moved through Paris amid heavy protests, including at least one attempt to rush a torch-bearer.
The BBC has more about the Paris protests, including this random bit about police on inline skates:
Security in Paris was extremely tight, with some 3,000 police on duty, riding motorcycles, jogging or on skates.
From the Associated Press on April 7, 2008:
… police barely stopped the second rush at the torch, and the attempt to extinguish it with water. Other demonstrators scaled the Eiffel Tower and hung a banner depicting the Olympic rings as handcuffs.
From the Associated Press on April 7, 2008:
PARIS (AP) – Organizers canceled the final leg of the Olympic run through Paris after chaotic protests Monday, snuffing out the torch and putting it aboard a bus in a humiliating concession to protesters decrying China’s human rights record.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Three people protesting China’s human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge Monday and tied the Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables.
The banners read “One World One Dream. Free Tibet” and “Free Tibet.”
The protesters wore helmets and harnesses as they made their way up the cables running next to the south tower of the famed span. The climb had the group suspended several dozen feet above traffic.
The torch is due to arrive Wednesday in San Francisco, its only North American stop.
Video of the Golden Gate protest is also available from the AP via Raw Story
From the AP on April 8, 2008:
Security was tightened on the Golden Gate Bridge on Tuesday, a day after three protesters scaled the famed span and tied the Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables. Pedestrians and bike riders now must have any large bags checked before they are allowed to cross the bridge.
From MSNBC on April 9, 2008:
SAN FRANCISCO – The Olympic torch was rerouted away from thousands of demonstrators and spectators who crowded the city’s waterfront Wednesday to witness the flame’s symbolic journey to the Beijing Games.
… The planned closing ceremony at the San Francisco Bay waterfront was canceled and another one was planned at an undisclosed location.
… [Mayor Gavin] Newsom said a closing ceremony would take place, but would not say where. He also would not reveal the exact torch route.
From the Times Online on April 8, 2008:
The International Olympic Committee may scrap the international leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay as a result of the protests over China’s military crackdown in Tibet.
Jacques Rogge, the IOC President, says the organisation’s executive board will meet on Friday to debate whether to allow the torch to continue its 85,000-mile, 21-country journey.