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Beijing: torch relay disruption is ‘sabotage’

BEIJING, China (AP) — Beijing Olympics organizers are criticizing protesters who tried to disrupt the torch relay in London, calling it an act of sabotage.

Demonstrators challenging China’s policies in Tibet and Darfur tried to board a torch relay bus, grab the torch, and even attempted to snuff out the flame with what appeared to be a fire extinguisher.

Police in the British capital said 37 people were arrested Sunday for a range of public order offenses.

Some protesters tried to sabotage the torch relay, by trying to grab the torch or extinguish it, stirring clashes with British police, an unnamed spokesman from the Beijing Olympics organizing committee torch relay center was quoted as saying by the official Xinhua News Agency.

The act will surely arouse the resentment of the peace-loving people, and is bound to fail, the spokesman was quoted as saying, adding that the Olympic flame represents peace, friendship and progress.

Hundreds along the torch route chanted Free Tibet! China, talk to Dalai Lama! and waved placards condemning China’s role in Darfur.

Activists demonstrating against China’s human rights record and a recent crackdown in Tibet have been protesting along the torch route since the start of the flame’s 85,000-mile (140,000-kilometer) journey from Ancient Olympia in Greece to Beijing.

The Summer Olympics kick off in the Chinese capital on Aug. 8.

The torch’s global tour — the longest in Olympic history — is part of China’s drive to highlight its growing economic and political power. But it also has offered protest groups abundant opportunity to air their grievances.

More protests are expected later Monday, when the Olympic torch winds through Paris. E-mail to a friend

Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Beijing: torch relay disruption is ‘sabotage’ – found here.

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April 7, 2008 - Posted by | Uncategorized

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