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Did you see it in the bus yesterday in Paris? Didn't they turn the thing off? This is only going to get worse....

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I can't see Bush not going. Having said that, he's out soon so he might do just what he wants which is who knows what.

 

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The Olympic flame relay in Paris ended in farce today when police cut the event short after protests forced officials to repeatedly extinguish the torch.

 

It was a second day of severe embarrassment for Beijing following similar skirmishes in London yesterday as activists demonstrated against China's recent violent crackdown in Tibet.

 

The Paris stage of the relay ran into trouble immediately after leaving the Eiffel Tower at lunchtime, even though hundreds of riot police and security officials flanked the torch bearers.

 

With only 200 metres of the planned 17-mile journey to the Charlety stadium on the edge of the city completed, the scale of the demonstrations meant officials had to extinguish the torch and seek shelter on board a bus.

 

The torch was relit and handed back to the French athletes carrying it through the streets, but it soon had to be extinguished again.

 

After this had happened for a fourth time, and with the procession hopelessly behind schedule, police decided not to go ahead with its second section.

 

Instead, the torch was again loaded onto a bus and driven to the stadium, arriving at around 5.30pm local time (1630 BST).

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I was thinking the same....I know I heard somewhere that the Olympic Flame is supposed to be kept burning indefinately - but is that just the ORIGIN flame, surely there would have been a huge stink if they extinguished the flame and they weren't allowed...

 

Seems a whole lot of rot to me though - take the flame from Greece and run it in a big massive relay around the world (can they take open flames on planes?) to light the flame in the Olympic stadium of the hosting country.

 

Nice concept, looks pretty at the Opening ceremony, but...is it really worth all the effort?

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I think its a nice idea.

 

In reality though the flame probably goes out (cos of airplanes - they should use boats), isn't the original flame, is powered by gas etc.

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I don't know if it is a waste. the ideals behind the notion of the flame and relay and the olympics are all pretty worthy. It is just unfortunate that the whole event has gone completely off the rails. the protests are a bit much. the time to object the beijing olympics was back when they were being awarded. it is a bit late now to be making a song and dance about it.

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So have the protests. The Olympics in particular are a leverage point for people that usually have zero sway in China's PR. The whole world is watching, so to speak, so it is an opportune time to expose grievences, for those that have them.

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Absolutely, and taking advantage of the PRC's PR vulnerability right now is completely valid. But why don't we see the same objections to iron ore contracts or manufacturing contracts or importing Chinese produce etc? Does Amnesty/Free Tibet protest in front of BHP's corporate headquarters? The PRC is a massive trading partner for a lot of countries these days, it seems doing business with China is ok, but it's not ok for China to host what has largely become a pretty debased event. There will be numerous countries with competitors at the games who have appalling human rights records - dictatorships, theocracies and all sorts of dodgy governments. Their participation doesn't seem to cause too much angst, but yet the PRC gets hassled because it has the temerity to organise the event. That's a bit inconsistent I reckon. And, look, I'm hardly a fan of the PRC, I think the government is dreadful but equally I feel that the groups protesting about the Beijing Olympics (however valid and worthy their causes) would be better served by being a little more even handed.

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Looks like the whole thing has gone completely nuts. The San Francisco leg seems to have ended up with the torch avoiding the crowds, spectators and protestors alike. what's the point in having it if no one can see it? I read yesterday that the first torch relay for the modern games was for the '36 games! So this whole thing really has quite a good pedigree, so far as political mileage is concerned!

 

If you hold a torch relay and no one sees it, does it really take place?

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Next stop Argentina - more protests are promised.

 

Goodness me. Is someone from the IOC going to make an executive decision and stop the torch relay this year? The constant trouble seems to be escalating. As more and more people watch, more and more are motivated to come out and join the protest. I am not sure if that is stemming from thier strong beliefs, or a phenomena of social psychology where the more people are involved the lower the threshhold required to spur you to join them.

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 Originally Posted By: Mamabear
As more and more people watch, more and more are motivated to come out and join the protest. I am not sure if that is stemming from thier strong beliefs, or a phenomena of social psychology where the more people are involved the lower the threshhold required to spur you to join them.


There is a bit of that isn't there? It is almost a form of mob behaviour.


I've seen this report in a couple of places now. Having a go at the security is a bet each way for the media - not actually supporting the protests, but finding the conduct/organisation of the relay objectionable anyway:

Referring to the Chinese torch escort, all being members of the PRC's wujing....

"These men, chosen from around the country, are each tall and large and are eminently talented and powerful," Mr Zhao told Labour Daily. "Their outstanding physical quality is not in the slightest inferior to that of specialised athletes."

The guards are flying on a chartered Air China jet that carries the back-up "Olympic lanterns" that each contain a flame from which the torch is lit or relit.

British television presenter Konnie Huq, a torch-bearer caught up in a clash between protesters and the flame attendants in London, said the Chinese guards shouted orders at her and pushed her arm to make her lift the torch higher. "They were very robotic, very full on, and actually I noticed them having skirmishes with our own police and the Olympic authorities before our leg of the relay," she said.

A leading London Olympics chief was overheard describing the escorts as "thugs".

Lord Sebastian Coe, a two-time Olympic gold medallist and chairman of London's Olympic organising committee, who called them thugs, said their behaviour was "horrible". Later he said his remarks, heard by British television, were meant to be private.
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"In Beijing, International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said the body's executive board would discuss tomorrow whether to end the international leg of the torch relay because of the demonstrations."

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I saw some of the San Fransico coverage on tv this morning - it looked ridiculous all those guards around it. I think they said something about the runner going into some warehouse for 30 minutes or something and then the bus for half the planned journey. What a joke.

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