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Activists Protest Inclusion of Tibet in Beijing Olympic Torch Relay Route


Pro-Tibet activists have called on the International Olympic Committee to cancel the Tibet leg of the Beijing Olympics' torch relay.

Tenzin Dorjee, deputy director of New York-based Students for a Free Tibet, made the appeal Sunday in Olympia, Greece, where a torch-lighting ceremony is planned for Monday. Police are patrolling the area to prevent pro-Tibet protesters from disrupting the event.

Speaking earlier Sunday, IOC President Jacques Rogge said the Beijing games will bring change to China, although he said his organization is not political.

Tenzin Dorjee said Sunday that he holds Rogge and the IOC personally responsible for what happens in Tibet.

In a related development, one of Thailand's representatives in the torch relay has withdrawn in protest over China's actions in Tibet.

Narisa Chakrabongse released a statement Sunday saying China's slaying of Tibetan protesters was a human rights violation.

The Olympic torch relay is scheduled to include Mount Everest, which lies on the border of Tibet and Nepal.

Tibetan exile Tenzin Dorjee was one of five Americans detained by China last year after the group unfurled a banner on Mount Everest. The banner called for Tibetan independence and criticized the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.

Tibetans have staged an unprecedented series of sometimes violent demonstrations in Tibet and adjoining provinces this month. Chinese police and troops have clamped down on the region and authorities have prevented independent journalists from reporting events there.

Tibetan exiles and their supporters in India and North America Sunday demonstrated their solidarity with the protests in Tibet.

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