Tibet protesters demand 'no torch in Tibet' on even of IOC's Beijing meeting

Wednesday, 9 April 2008

IOC Executive Board Meeting in Beijing April 10-12: Tibet protesters renew demand for IOC to pull Tibet from Torch Relay* April 9, 2008 As the Olympic Torch is met by further high-profile protests in San Francisco on the latest leg of the hugely controversial Torch Relay, Tibetan protesters are renewing their demand for the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to pull Tibet from the Torch Relay. Protesters in Athens, London and Paris have made "No Torch in Tibet" a key demand and Tibet groups will be reiterating this demand to delegates of the IOC's Executive Board meeting which takes place in Beijing from April 10 to April 12. Matt Whitticase of Free Tibet Campaign said: "Jacques Rogge (IOC President) must announce at his press conference on Friday that China will not be allowed to parade the torch triumphantly in front of a cowed and repressed Tibetan people. It would be an abhorrent sight, and would only provoke further protests by Tibetans, leading to further brutality and killings by the Chinese security forces. If the IOC does not want the blood of Tibetans all over the Torch, it must announce this week that Tibet is pulled from the Torch Relay. If the IOC fails to make such an announcement, it can expect a summer of protests outside its offices, and those of the Torch Relay sponsors." China is clearly determined to crack down hard on any Tibetans protesting as the torch passes through Tibet. The BBC reported today that Qiangpa Puncog, Tibet's China-backed governor, had said: "If... anyone should attempt to disrupt or undermine the torch relay, they will be dealt with severely according to law." The torch is due to be taken up Mt Everest which straddles the Tibet-Nepal border in early May when climactic conditions are suitable. The Chinese government is determined to take the torch up Everest on the Tibet side during the domestic leg of the relay in a cynical attempt to underscore its baseless claims to sovereignty over Tibet. The torch will then be taken to Lhasa on June 20-21. Matt Whitticase Press Officer, Free Tibet Campaign Notes: For further information please contact Matt Whitticase at matt@freetibet.org Or call on +44 (0) 207 324 4605/+44 (0)7515 788456