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 South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease 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.
African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebolai
X
George Putic
August 20, 2014 8:57 PM
While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid