Monday, April 7, 2008

Pro-Tibet Protesters Scale Golden Gate Bridge; Hang Banner

SAN FRANCISCO (AFP) — Three pro-Tibet demonstrators climbed cables on the Golden Gate Bridge Monday to condemn China's government in advance of the Olympic torch's run through San Francisco.

The demonstrators unfurled a giant banner reading "One World, One Dream" and "Free Tibet 08," while at least one of the daredevil protesters could be seen carrying a Tibetan flag, television images showed.

Local media reported that four people had been arrested by California Highway Patrol, while the three protesters remained suspended from the bridge.

One of the climbers told a local radio station in a telephone interview conducted from his perch that he was part of group Students for a Free Tibet.

Laurel Sutherland said the group wanted "to bring the attention of the world on the rights abuse happening in Tibet and the way China is trying to use the torch to mask the torture that is going on in Tibet today."

"This is a once in a generation opportunity to try to get them to understand that if they want to be a player on the global stage in terms of the Olympics then they have to change their ways when it comes to political oppression and abuse," Sutherland said.

San Francisco is on tenterhooks ahead of the Olympic flame's procession through the city on Wednesday, which follows London and Paris events which were severely disrupted by pro-Tibet protesters.

San Francisco police say an unprecedented security blanket will be in place Wednesday's for the flame's only appearance on US soil, as authorities attempt to avoid a repeat of the chaotic scenes in Europe.

Several hundred police officers are expected to line the streets for the appearance of the torch, which has been trailed by protesters since it was lit in Greece a week ago at the start of a 85,000-mile, 21-country journey.

A San Francisco Police Department spokesman said security for the relay would be noticeably tighter than previous appearances of the torch in the city in 1992 and 1996.

The Original Story

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