Olympic Protesters Zero In on Sponsors

Tibet, Darfur activists lobby corporations, with some success
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 23, 2008 8:42 AM CDT
A Tibetan activist puts up an anti-China poster during a "Free Tibet" protest Tuesday, April 22, 2008 in Jakarta, Indonesia.    (AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)
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(Newser) – As the Beijing Olympics approach, advocates for a free Tibet and peace in Darfur are trying to hit the Games where it hurts: in the wallet. A coalition of groups has been petitioning the corporations that are sponsoring this year's Olympics to press China on their behalf. The strategy seems to be having at least modest success, writes the Guardian.

Coca-Cola, for example, is under intense pressure to back out of sponsoring the torch relay unless China diverts its planned path through Tibet. Actor George Clooney has already raised the issue of Darfur with Omega, the watchmaker for which he is a spokesman. Sponsors may not make policy, but "they have lobbying firms, they have international presences—and they all do engage in politics," said one activist. (Read more 2008 Beijing Olympics stories.)