Beijing 2022: Human rights activists deploy “No Genocide Games” banner during flame-lighting ceremony

The ceremony, which takes place in ancient Olympia, cradle of the ancient Olympic Games, brought together the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Thomas Bach, Greek President Katerina Sakellaropoulou and a number of dignitaries.

The three activists managed to enter the heavily guarded archaeological site of the old stadium and attempted to reach the Temple of Hera while the ceremony was being widely televised.

They managed to deploy the banner a few meters from the temple, waving the Tibetan flag and calling for a boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics before being arrested by police.

The Games must be respected as “politically neutral ground,” said IOC President Thomas Bach during his speech in ancient Olympia.

“The Olympic Games cannot meet all the challenges of our world. But they set an example of a world where everyone respects the same rules and each other,” he added.

Greek police arrested three protesters in Athens on Sunday after deploying a banner opposing the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics at the Acropolis archaeological site.

“Specifically, after entering space, they approached the Agrippa monument and tried to deploy a large banner and two flags with ideograms and words in English,” a Greek police statement said. .

“Their attempt was unsuccessful after they were noticed by the guardian of the archaeological space who prevented them from doing so. They were then arrested by the police.”

A trial is due in January, Greek police spokesman Apostolos Skrekas said.

Two of the activists who were arrested were Tsela Zoksang, an 18-year-old Tibetan-American activist, and Joey Siu, 22, an exiled activist from Hong Kong, the “Students for a Free Tibet” group, said in a statement. written. The activists have been released and are allowed to leave the country, the group said.

According to “Students for a Free Tibet”, Zoksang and Siu are members of the “No Beijing 2022” campaign, which “demands that the International Olympic Committee (IOC) reverse its mistake by granting Beijing the honor of hosting the Winter Olympics in 2022. “

The group said in its statement that the IOC had “repeatedly ignored evidence of gross human rights violations by China, including genocide of the Uyghur people, the brutal and illegal occupation of Tibet, and the severe and escalating crackdown on freedom and democracy in Hong Kong. “

Human rights protests also erupted during the lighting ceremony for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing.

The Chinese capital will become the first city to host both the Summer and Winter Games with events scheduled from February 4 to 20, 2022.

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