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Rio Olympics 2016 - 25. March 2008.

Pro-Tibet group warn of action in London during torch relay


MARCH 21 - A PRO-TIBET group in Britain today warned of possible disruption to an Olympic torch relay through London next month if China continues with its crackdown in the mountainous province.

The countdown for the Beijing Olympics begins Monday in ancient Olympia with the lighting of the torch but recent days have seen mounting protests against China's 57-year rule of Tibet and a crackdown which is feared to have caused scores of deaths in the Himalayan region.

About 2,000 police officers and civilian support staff will be on duty in London to ward off any unrest when the torch passes through London on Sunday, April 6.

European-based Tibetans are expected to travel to London that weekend to demonstrate against Beijing's Tibetan rule.

Anne Holmes, acting director of the London-based Free Tibet Campaign, said feelings were running high.

She said: "We will have a presence.

"Our plan is to do something peaceful to make our point..

"Actually disrupting the torch relay in any way is not part of our plan at the moment.

"But I cannot speak on behalf of the Tibetan community in exile, who are obviously deeply distressed by recent events.

"The torch relay is two weeks off.

"Given what may or may not happen in Tibet, I really do not know what will happen on April 6."

The Olympic torch will Monday embark on a global trek and is due to cover 137,000 kilometres (85,000 miles), including a stop-off in Tibet itself, ahead of the Games' opening ceremony on August 8.

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