Protesters Disrupt Olympic Torch Exchange

Demonstrators try to block torch as it passes from Greeks to Chinese; 10 arrested
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted Mar 30, 2008 3:23 PM CDT
A detained pro-Tibet protester shows the victory sign through the window of a police van outside the Panathenian Stadium where the Olympic flame handover ceremony was held in Athens, March 30, 2008.   (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Protesters against China’s Tibet crackdown shook up today’s Olympic torch hand-off in Athens, the New York Times reports. Some 15 people dodged security to fly banners and shout “Free Tibet” as they tried to block Greek officials from passing the flame to Beijing authorities. Ten were nabbed by police, but it’s not yet clear whether they’ll face charges.

Riot squads and dozens of cops, part of Athens’ 1,000-strong event security force for the event, took the protesters to Greece’s national police headquarters soon after the start of the ceremony. Earlier, three supporters of Falun Gong, which is outlawed in China, were also apprehended by police for handing out leaflets. Today’s dust-up follows a number of protests across Greece against China’s reaction to Tibetan demonstrations.