News / Europe

Political Activists Shun Staging Protests at Olympics

Political Activists Shun Staging Protests at Olympicsi
|| 0:00:00
...    
🔇
X
Brian Padden
August 08, 2012 10:32 PM
Despite the fact that the Olympics this year are being held in Great Britain, a country that protects free speech, so far there have been very few political demonstrations during the games. VOA's Brian Padden reports from London that some groups have decided that protesting during the Olympics would do more harm than good for their causes.
Brian Padden
LONDON — Despite the fact that the Olympics this year are being held in Great Britain, a country that protects free speech, so far there have been very few political demonstrations during the games. Some groups have decided that protesting during the Olympics would do more harm than good for their causes.

Maria Wenda and a small number of protesters from the Free West Papua Movement staged a demonstration in front of the Indonesian Embassy in London during the Olympics. She says the group hopes the international media here for the games will also tell the world about their cause -- to end what they say is Indonesia's occupation of West Papua and expose ongoing human rights abuses.

“This is very important and [has] big meaning for us and for West Papua people because nobody knows and what the people of West Papua, being crying and shouting for help and nobody knows and nobody hears about this.” Wenda said.

In East London near the Olympic stadium Gobi Sivanthan, with Tamils Against Genocide, is staging a hunger strike.  He wants the international community to investigate the Sri Lankan government for what he says are crimes against humanity, committed against the Tamil ethnic group.

"I'm targeting international media because we don't have our media.  We don't have any help from most of the international media.  So I am here to get attention by democratic way and peaceful way," Sivanthan said.

In a vibrant democracy like Great Britain, political protests like these are common and legal.  But during the Olympics, there have been relatively few such demonstrations.  And those that have occurred have not disrupted the games.

Security analyst Valentina Soria, with the Royal United Services Institute, says British authorities have increased police and security forces during the games and let it be known they would not tolerate any demonstrations that might endanger public safety.

“We allow people to protest and to spread their dissent but always to a limited extent insofar as it doesn't really, necessarily escalate into bigger, you know, widespread disorder, which then becomes a security threat in itself,” Soria said.

Julian Cheyne with the Counter Olympics Network, a coalition group that helped organize a large protest march on the first day of the games, says most British activists have no plans to protest during the Olympics.  He says his group opposes the corporate exploitation and the lack of government accountability in planning the Olympics, but not the competition itself.  Disrupting the games, he says, might turn the public against their cause.

“The issue was never about that for us anyway, about trying to interrupt the sporting event and actually I think it would be futile to do that because a lot of people would be very annoyed, but actually that is not the purpose of it anyway," Cheyne said.

Cheyne says after the general good feeling generated by the Olympics fades and harsh economic realities re-emerge, political activists will again take to the streets.

You May Like

Photogallery Americans Celebrate Thanksgiving With Feasts, Festivities

Holiday traditions include turkey dinners, 'turkey trots,' American-style football and New York parade with giant balloons More

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

With two years left in term, analysts say, president has less to lose by taking conversation on race further More

Video Italian Espresso Expands Into Space

When Italian astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti headed for the ISS, her countrymen worried how she would survive six months drinking only instant coffee More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infectionsi
X
November 28, 2014 3:31 PM
South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video South Africa Sees Male Circumcision as Way to Reduce HIV Infections

South Africa remains plagued by AIDS despite massive government and NGO efforts on prevention and life-sustaining Anti-Retro-Viral programs. But the country has opened up another front to reduce new HIV infections: promoting circumcision. Emilie Iob reports for VOA News from a pioneering circumcision center in Orange Farm, Johannesburg.
Video

Video To Make A Living, Nairobi Street Vendors Face Legal Hurdles, Physical Violence

The Nairobi City Council has been accused of brutality in dealing with hawkers in the Central Business District - in order to stop them from illegally selling their wares on the streets. Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.
Video

Video For Obama, Ferguson Violence is a Personal Issue

Throughout the crisis in Ferguson, Missouri, President Barack Obama has urged calm, restraint and respect for the rule of law. But the events in Ferguson have prompted him to call — more openly than he has before — for profound changes to end the racism and distrust that he believes still exists between whites and blacks in the United States. VOA White House correspondent Luis Ramirez reports.
Video

Video Online Magazine Gets Kids Discussing Big Questions

Teen culture in America is often criticized for being superficial. But an online magazine has been encouraging some teenagers to explore deeper issues, and rewarding their efforts. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky went to this year’s Kidspirit awards ceremony in New York.
Video

Video US Community Kicks Off Thanksgiving With Parade

Thursday is Thanksgiving in the United States, a holiday whose roots go back to the country's earliest days as a British colony. One way Americans celebrate the occasion is with parades. Anush Avetisyan takes us to one such event on the day before Thanksgiving near Washington, where a community's diversity is on display. Joy Wagner narrates
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.

All About America

AppleAndroid