Thursday, March 27, 2008

Olympic Torch Protests

The hot news in San Fran this week is about the Olympic Torch and protests against the Chinese government for human rights abuses especially against the Tibetans.

With San Fran being an Olympic showcase for North America on April 9, protesters are amassing. Outside the Civic Hall today are Tibetans and others supporting the Free Tibet campaign. On NBC 11's evening news broadcast tonight one of the protest leaders said that their computers have been infected with viruses. They suspect the Chinese government but NBC 11 were not able to draw any comment from the FBI.

Protests are also going to be against China's support for the government of Sudan against the people of Dafur and, according to the San Fran Chronicle, perhaps even on behalf of the Burmese monks.

Darfur Coalition spokeswoman, Martina Knee, is quoted as saying they expect to have at least 1,000 protesters on the streets from all over the country. They have also bought signs on 80 Muni buses: 'Tell China to stop sponsoring genocide in Darfur.'

The Chronicle reports, too, that China has requested the eight-mile route be shortened to six miles. Controversy has raged over the route. Mayor Gavin Newsom has confirmed that the protests will be allowed but has only today released some details of the route.

The starting point is at McCovey Cove, an area of the Bay waterfront south of the city that is near the baseball park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The finishing point will be further north along the Bay at the Justin Herman Plaza opposite the Ferry Building at the Embarcadero.

Exactly which streets the route will take is still unknown. Mayor Newsom is reported in another Chronicle article as saying that details are being held back because of worries about possible attempts to stop or disrupt the procession.

'But no one will be denied the ability to protest all along the parade route if, indeed, they find that it is a great idea because they want to disrupt what should be a unifying event and try to make it more divisive,' he said.

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