RUSSIAN police break up Tibetan protest against China's Olympic bid

Wednesday, July 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MOSCOW (AP) _ Russian riot police swiftly broke up a protest Wednesday by about 10 Tibetan demonstrators objecting to China's bid to be host of the 2008 Olympics, trying to tear a 15-foot-wide banner out of demonstrators' hands and detaining several protesters.

The demonstrators, members of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, unfurled a banner on the Moscow River embankment across from the International Trade Center, where the International Olympic Committee is meeting this week.

The banner, about two yards high, had a picture of five bullet holes in place of the Olympic logo of five linked circles.

As soon as the banner was displayed, riot police broke up the protest and tried to seize the banner.

``This is the same thing that would happen in China,'' shouted demonstration leader Yangzom Brauen.

After the demonstrators continued to resist, trying to unfurl the banner again and speak with journalists, police detained several of them, including Brauen. They carried her, weeping, by the arms and legs into a waiting police bus. Police also detained other protesters and at least one journalist, an Associated Press photographer.

Beijing is widely expected to win when the IOC on Friday chooses from among five cities bidding for the games. The other candidates are Paris, Toronto, Istanbul, Turkey and Osaka, Japan.

Tibetans and other human rights activists oppose awarding the games to Beijing, saying the move would be seen by the Chinese government as tacit endorsement of its hard line against dissent and repressive policies in Tibet and Inner Mongolia.

Advocates of the bid say having the games in Beijing would encourage China to liberalize, because of the intense attention that the Olympics would focus on the country.