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23-04-08, 23:27
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Singer KD Lang gives a speech to pro-Tibet protesters before the start of the Olympic torch relay in Canberra April 24, 2008.
REUTERS/Tim Wimborne
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Unregistered
23-04-08, 23:32
Protesters in Australian capital for Olympic torch relay

By ROD McGUIRK, Associated Press Writer 42 minutes ago

Runners bearing the Olympic torch completed a 10-mile relay through the Australian capital's crowd-lined streets Thursday, unimpeded by sporadic anti-China protests that left several people arrested.

Thousands turned out for the Canberra relay on the cool and sunny autumn day as police manned crowd-control barriers and vowed that nothing would stop the torch from completing its three-hour journey.

The event began without major incident as a half-dozen officers — in jogging pants, T-shirts and baseball caps — formed a loose cordon around the runner. Overhead, an airplane sky writer wrote the words "Free Tibet" in white letters.

An hour into the relay, a man leaped out from the crowd and sat cross-legged about 35 feet in front of the runner. Police quickly hauled him away and the runner didn't stop.

But there were no other challenges to the event and nearly three hours after the start, five-time gold medal winner Ian Thorpe completed the final leg by lighting a ceremonial cauldron.

Away from the route, three Tibetan women blocked the street in front of Parliament. Police also took them away. Another protester shouted "stop killing in Tibet," and he was led off.

Police presence was heavy amid organizers' concerns that chaotic demonstrations that marred the event elsewhere could be repeated.

Protests of China's human rights record and its crackdown on anti-government activists in Tibet have turned the relay into a contentious issue for the Olympic movement. Many countries have changed routes and boosted security along the flame's six-continent journey to the Aug. 8-24 games in Beijing.

People carrying Chinese flags strongly outnumbered those carrying Tibetan flags or placards criticizing Beijing's human rights record. At some places, chanting of "One China" broke out. At others, eager supporters waving Chinese banners tried to keep up with the relay.

Shortly before the start of the relay, television footage showed dozens of China supporters facing off against a group carrying blue-colored flags representing the China's Muslim minority Uighurs. Minor scuffling broke out as officials sought to separate the groups. Police said at least one person was arrested. Soon afterward, Tibetan activists set alight a Chinese flag. Police led away one person.

Security to guard the 80 torchbearers has been boosted — officials say the expense doubled in recent weeks to $1.9 million — although the several hundred police expected to be deployed is far fewer than the thousands who guarded the flame in India and Indonesia.

Pro-Tibet groups said said about 500 people showed up in Canberra for peaceful protests. In response, Chinese student groups organized bus trips from Sydney and other cities for those wanting to support the relay.

"We didn't expect this reaction from the Chinese community which is obviously a well-coordinated plan to take the day by weight of numbers," Ted Quinlan, the chief organizer of the Australia relay, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp. "We have assurances that it will be done peacefully."

Three-foot-tall crowd-control barriers lined the relay circuit, which has been shortened out of security concerns. But it still threads along a 10-mile path past Parliament House and within 200 yards of the Chinese Embassy.

"We are determined that this torch will run its full route," Police Chief Mike Phelan told reporters.

He said three Chinese torch officials allowed near the flame have no security role. Australian officials have sought to play down the role of the Chinese security team that has surrounded the flame on the relay.

There were small protests Wednesday.

In Sydney, activists unfurled a banner over a prominent billboard for relay sponsor Coca-Cola that urged China to open talks with the Dalai Lama, the exiled Tibetan leader. Police charged four people with trespassing.

Earlier, police stopped two people from unfurling a pro-Tibet banner on the Sydney Harbor Bridge. They were fined.

In Canberra, about 150 people attended a vigil outside the Chinese Embassy and spelled out "Free Tibet" with candles.

George Farley, chairman of the Australia Tibet Council, urged the crowd not to be violent, even if provoked, because it could only harm their cause.

"The world believes the cause of Tibet is moral," Farley said. "If they spit on you, just wear it. If they attack you, run away. Do not approach the Chinese, do not interact with them."

In Nepal, authorities forced an American mountaineer with a "Free Tibet" banner in his bags off Mount Everest. Chinese climbers carrying the Olympic torch plan to ascend their side of the world's tallest peak in the early days of May.

The climber, who was identified by a guide company as William Brant Holland, was caught with the banner at Everest's base camp, said Nepalese Tourism Ministry officials who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

The climber is the first to be stopped by soldiers and police stationed on the Nepalese side of Everest during the torch relay.

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Associated Press Writers Tanalee Smith and Rohan Sullivan in Sydney and Binaj Gurubacharya in Katmandu, Nepal, contributed to this story.

Unregistered
23-04-08, 23:45
Gerche bayriqimiz korunmigen bolsimu, taxta tutup turghan qerindishimizgha kop rexmet!

Unregistered
24-04-08, 00:56
http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gEtQD-yS0Xp4_sizYjZ8SE7bG_1gD90803C01


Runners carry Olympic torch in Australia unimpeded

By ROD McGUIRK – 16 minutes ago

CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Runners bearing the Olympic torch completed a 10-mile relay through the Australian capital Thursday, cheered by thousands waving Chinese flags and unimpeded by pockets of pro-Tibet protests that led to several arrests.

Crowds lined downtown streets for the Canberra relay on the cool and sunny autumn day as police manned crowd-control barriers, making good on a vow that nothing would stop the torch from finishing its journey.

The event began without major incident as a half-dozen officers — in jogging pants, T-shirts and baseball caps — formed a loose cordon around the runner. Overhead, an airplane sky writer wrote the words "Free Tibet" in white letters.

A momentary scare came an hour into the relay when a man leaped out from the crowd and sat cross-legged about 35 feet in front of the runner. Police quickly hauled him away and the runner didn't stop.

It was the closest any protester came to the torch, which was carried through Canberra's wide tree-lined boulevards by 80 runners.

Nearly three hours after the start, five-time gold medal winner Ian Thorpe completed the final leg by lighting a ceremonial cauldron.

Officials claimed a victory because it largely avoided the chaotic protest scenes that marred the portions held in Europe and the United States.

"We obviously feared the worst," local government spokesman Jeremy Lasek said. "We feel right now relieved but elated — we think we've pulled it off."

Protests of China's human rights record and its crackdown on anti-government activists in Tibet have turned the relay into a contentious issue for the Olympic movement. Many countries have changed routes and boosted security along the flame's six-continent journey to the Aug. 8-24 games in Beijing.

Officials estimated more than 10,000 people — mostly China supporters — attended the relay route and parks in Canberra. China supporters strongly outnumbered those carrying Tibetan flags or placards criticizing Beijing's human rights record. At some places, chanting of "One China" broke out. At others, eager supporters waving Chinese banners tried to keep up with the relay.

Away from the route, three Tibetan women blocked the street in front of Parliament and a protester shouted "stop killing in Tibet." Police led all four away.

Shortly before the start, dozens of China supporters faced off against a group carrying blue-colored flags representing the China's Muslim minority Uighurs and minor scuffling erupted. Police said at least one person was arrested. Soon afterward, Tibetan activists set alight a Chinese flag and one person was arrested.

Seven people in total were detained during the day and will likely face charges of causing a public disturbance, said police spokeswoman Laura Keating.

Pro-Tibet groups said about 500 people showed up in Canberra for peaceful protests. In response, Chinese student groups organized bus trips from Sydney and other cities for those wanting to support the relay.

"We didn't expect this reaction from the Chinese community which is obviously a well-coordinated plan to take the day by weight of numbers," Ted Quinlan, the chief organizer of the Australia relay, told the Australian Broadcasting Corp.

Security had been boosted — officials say the expense doubled in recent weeks to $1.9 million — along a route that had been shortened. But it still threaded along a 10-mile path past Parliament House and within 200 yards of the Chinese Embassy.

"We are determined that this torch will run its full route," Police Chief Mike Phelan told reporters Wednesday.

He said three Chinese torch officials allowed near the flame have no security role.

George Farley, chairman of the Australia Tibet Council, had urged the crowd not to be violent, even if provoked.

There were small protests Wednesday in Sydney and Canberra with a handful of arrests.

In Nepal, authorities forced an American mountaineer with a "Free Tibet" banner in his bags off Mount Everest. Chinese climbers carrying the Olympic torch plan to ascend their side of the world's tallest peak in the early days of May.

Associated Press Writers Tanalee Smith and Rohan Sullivan in Sydney and Binaj Gurubacharya in Katmandu, Nepal, contributed to this story.