Two Americans detained by police in Greece for protesting Beijing Olympics

Two Americans detained by police in Greece for protesting Beijing Olympics

Two Americans were detained by police in Greece on Sunday after they staged a protest against the Beijing Winter Olympics, The Associated Press reported.

Two activists waved a Tibetan flag and a banner proclaiming “Free Hong Kong Revolution” and yelled “Free Tibet” and “Boycott Beijing 2022” while atop the Acropolis in Athens. The demonstration comes just days before the Beijing 2022 Committee will be handed the Olympic torch in Greece, advocacy group Students for a Free Tibet said in a statement.

The group noted that more than 20 police officers appeared on the scene within minutes, which immediately ended the protest. Students for a Free Tibet noted that a formal arrest had not been made.

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The group said that the activists are part of a larger group protesting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) decision to allow the Olympics to remain in China, saying in a statement that “the IOC has repeatedly ignored the evidence of the egregious human rights abuses by China including a genocide of the Uyghur people, the brutal and illegal occupation of Tibet, and the severe and worsening crackdown against freedom and democracy in Hong Kong.”

“By awarding the Chinese government the honor of hosting an Olympic Games yet again, the IOC is sending the world a message that it is ok to turn a blind eye to genocide and crimes against humanity in Hong Kong, Tibet, East Turkestan, and Southern Mongolia. We must stand together to oppose Beijing 2022,” one of the individuals detained, Hong Kong activist Joey Siu, said in a statement.

The demonstration precedes a scheduled event on Tuesday, when a delegation from the Beijing 2022 Committee will be handed the Olympic flame, which will soon travel back to the Olympic host country, according to the South China Morning Post.

The IOC said in a statement that it could not comment on the protest "as it is a matter for the Greek authorities."
 
"Given the diverse participation in the Olympic Games, the IOC must remain neutral on all global political issues. Awarding the Olympic Games to a National Olympic Committee (NOC) and a host does not mean that the IOC takes a position with regard to the political structure, social circumstances or human rights standards in its country," according to the IOC's position on the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.

The Beijing Olympics are scheduled to last from Feb. 4 until Feb. 20.