German athletes explore Olympic protest options

March 30th, 2008 - 9:39 pm ICT by admin  

DPA
Hamburg, March 30 (DPA) German water polo player Soeren Mackeben said that his team is considering wearing bath robes in orange, the colour of the Tibetan monks, to express their protest over China’s actions in Tibet, according to reports Sunday. Mackeben insisted he will not breach the Olympic Charter and will express his opinion on Tibet outside Olympic areas in the Chinese capital.

A German network of athletes has the same in mind with a silicon armband in green and blue with the writing “Sport for Human Rights.”

But the issue is delicate as athletes face punishment from the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the case of protest action in the Olympic areas.

The Olympic Charter says in article 51 that “No kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas.” Violations can lead to disqualification and loss of Olympic accreditation.

American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos were kicked out of the 1968 Games after their Black Power protest at the 200m victory ceremony. Less than two weeks ago Serbian swimmer Milorad Cavic had to leave the European swim championships after wearing a T-shirt with the writing “Kosovo is Serbia.”

Sebastian Schulte, a spokesman of the German Olympic team and part of the rowing eighth, said that athletes will not overstep the rules.

“I will not undermine the chances of my crew by voicing my opinion in a careless way, but I will express myself within the rules.

“Sport can not be misused as the last resort to continue a war with other methods, but as mature athletes we will look closely into what the Olympic Charter allows and use our options within this framework for our protests,” said Schulte.
DPA

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