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April 8th, 2008 · 3 Comments · Activism, Culture, Human Rights, LGBT, News, Politics

Peter Tatchell arrestI’ve said this many times in the past, and I’m sure I’ll say it again in the future:

God bless Peter Tatchell.


Gay activist Peter Tatchell was one of dozens detained in various protests over the weekend surrounding the transit of the Olympic flame through London, including one dramatic moment in which the torch was nearly snatched from the hands of television presenter Konnie Huq (see video, AFTER THE JUMP). There were 80 torch-bearers who carried the flame through London, from Wembley Stadium to Greenwich.

Gays Without Borders reports on the Tatchell arrest
: “Mr Tatchell ran in front of the bus carrying the Olympic flame. He held up a placard which read: “Free Tibet, Free Hu Jia.” He shouted the same words as he ran along in front of the bus. The police wrestled Mr Tatchell to the ground, which delayed the bus briefly while he was removed to pavement. After questioning, he was later released without charge.”

And I agree with every word of what Mr. Tatchell has to say here:

“Gordon Brown has shamed himself and Britain by greeting the Olympic torch at Downing Street, at a time when China is shooting dead Tibetan protesters and jailing and torturing hundreds of political prisoners,” added Mr Tatchell.

“It is hypocritical for the Prime Minister to boycott the Zimbabwean regime, but not the dictatorial regime in China. These double standards bring our government into disrepute.

“The UK should not be colluding with a police state like China. Attempts to gently persuade the Beijing leaders to stop their human rights abuses have failed. They are manipulating the Olympics. We must not allow them to exploit the Beijing games to divert attention from China’s abysmal human rights record.

“All countries that love freedom, democracy and liberty should refuse to host the Olympic torch and boycott the opening and closing ceremonies of the Beijing Olympics. Athletes should wear Tibetan flags during their events and on the podium when they collect their medals.

“China should be subjected to sporting protests in the same way that apartheid South Africa was subject to sporting protests.

“China is one the world’s most vicious anti-worker regimes. It has poor labour laws. Employees have little protection against abuse. Independent trade unions are banned and their leaders jailed.

“To make way for new cities, millions of rural people have been forced off their land with little or no compensation. China is free market state capitalism at its worst. The gap between the rich and poor is one of the widest of any country on earth.

“The idea that China is any longer a communist state is laughable. The Communist Party has become a new ruling class and a route to personal advancement, corruption and wealth aggrandisement.

“The Beijing leaders are new emperors who ride roughshod over their own people. They have almost total power and they abuse it to oppress and exploit the Chinese nation, in ways that are often similar to the old feudal and colonial powers of the nineteenth century,” said Mr Tatchell.

Here’s hoping these Olympics will be a long and unhappy campaign of face-losing for the current Chinese emperors.


3 Comments so far ↓

  • Aaron

    I have to say, it excites me to see so many protesting…I’ve been watching with rheumy, cynical eyes the news reports of President Bush and his “human rights talks” with the Chinese government…

    That must be like getting driving lessons from Helen Keller.

  • kev


    I don’t know much about Peter Tatchell, but what a brave and well-spoken man he is. Good for him. I’m not sure why our country isn’t turned upside down from protests right now. It baffles me.


  • jim s.

    Did you see all the protestors today in San Francisco??? I really felt proud to be an American watching them.