Protesters wants Olympic torch to stay out of Tibet

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Tibetan protestors said that the display of torch would be a provocation.

10 April 2008

BRUSSELS - Tibetan protesters said Wednesday they want the Olympic torch run to stay out of their Himalayan highlands.

More than 100 demonstrators gathered in front of Belgium's Olympic Committee headquarters demanding an end to the violent repression of the protests in Tibet over the past month.

Lhamo Svaluto, vice president of the Friends of Tibet group, said displaying the torch in Tibet would be "a provocation".

On Thursday, the European Parliament is expected to approve a resolution appealing for a joint position of the 27 EU nations on whether to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

The Belgian government, meanwhile, said it wants to give China until the end of May before seeking a European Union consensus on whether to boycott the opening ceremony.

"Let us assess after 23 May and in relation to international developments what we have to do," Foreign Minister Karel De Gucht said after a cabinet meeting.

There have been calls to boycott the 8 August opening ceremonies of the Beijing Games because of China's handling of anti-government protests in Tibet.

De Gucht will travel to China on 23 May and wants a joint EU stance on the issue afterward. He urged Beijing to open a dialogue with the Dalai Lama and to seek a peaceful solution to the problem.

In Paris, Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said EU politicians should stay away from the opening Olympic ceremony.

"We agreed that a purely promotional event such as the ceremonial opening of the Olympics in a country that has again shown to be a dictatorship should not be supported," Schwarzenberg told the Czech News Agency after talks with his French counterpart, Bernard Kouchner.

[AP / Expatica]

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