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Protests have already started in Australia before tomorrow’s Olympic torch relay. So far they have been peaceful, and protest leaders are renewing calls to use nonviolence in the waning hours before the torch takes its course through the streets of Canberra.
Australia Tibet Council chairman George Farley addressed protesters at a candlelight vigil in front of the Chinese embassy:
“The world believes the cause of Tibet is moral,” Mr Farley said.
But he warned world opinion could change if tomorrow’s protests turned ugly.
Mr Farley said the non-violent approach endorsed by the Dalai Lama was the only approach to take.
“If they (pro-China activists) spit on you, just wear it.
“If they attack you, run away. Do not approach the Chinese, do not interact with them.”
This YouTube is from one of a small group of protesters walking 43 miles while on a hunger strike to join the wider protest in Canberra:
This interview with Simon Bradshaw of the Australia Tibet Council is shot against the backdrop last night’s protest, in which a laser sign reading “Don’t Torch Tibet” was beamed onto the Sydney Harbor Bridge:
Live News in Australia covers a “cheeky” but effective protest involving the Coca-Cola sign at King’s Cross (click on the link for video of the protest):
The neon advertisement that for so long has been synonymous with Sydney’s redlight and entertainment district is now the subject of global political action with demostrators rolling a huge banner over the it.
Protestors incoorporated Coke’s trademark ‘dynamic ribbon’ graphic into their banner, which read: Enjoy compassion, Always Tibet. China, talk to the Dalai Lama.
The silent demonstration was praised by passers-by as an effective alternative to violent protests that have followed the Olympic Torch Relay around the globe.
“It’s a good idea to do a silent protest like that, instead of going about and trying to hi-jack the actual Olympic torch, which I presume that’s what it’s in line with.
“Good on ’em for doing it. I hope they don’t get in too much trouble.”
Reuters is reporting that relay organizers are planning a “dynamic” torch relay (images of the Where’s Waldo torch relay in San Francisco spring to mind):
CANBERRA, April 23 (Reuters) – Australian police promised on Wednesday a “dynamic” torch relay to dodge protesters when the Olympic flame travels the Australian leg of its troubled journey around the world.
Canberra police commander Mike Phelan said the torch route, expected to start with a lake-crossing, would have contingencies in place if expected protests turned violent.
“The route as published is something that will be dynamic on the day,” he said.
Phelan stressed Australian police alone would handle security after Beijing Olympic Committee Spokesman Qu Yingpu hinted Chinese attendants could step in, prompting hurried denials from city officials.
Separately, the Dalai Lama is now scheduled to speak before a British committee of parliament:
THE Dalai Lama is to give evidence on human rights issues to a parliamentary oversight committee on foreign affairs during his visit to Britain next month.
“Given the particular interest in China’s human rights record in 2008, the committee has requested to take oral evidence from His Holiness the Dalai Lama on a range of human rights issues when he visits the United Kingdom in May, and His Holiness has agreed to this request,” the committee said.
The exiled Tibetan spiritual leader is due at parliament in London on May 22.
Please keep all sides of this conflict in your thoughts, prayers and meditations as the torch relay starts tomorrow. Please also keep Jamyang Kyi, believed to be detained by Chinese authorities, in the front of your minds, as there is still no news about her status or whereabouts.