UK mobilises security ahead of hostile reception for Olympic torchApril 6th, 2008 - 5:24 pm ICT by admin
London, Apr.5 (ANI):At least 2000 British policemen have been mobilised in anticipation of the storm of protest expected to greet the Olympic torch when it arrives here on Sunday.
The torch begins the second week of its 130-day global journey in the midst of continuing criticism of China’s human rights record.
The red-and-silver torch will arrive here from St Petersburg in Russia, and will be accorded an official approval by Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
Up to 80,000 spectators are expected to turn out to watch the torch make its 31-mile journey from west London to Greenwich.
On Saturday, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg became the first senior British politician to call on Brown to boycott the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympic Games.
The Olympic torch’s journey through London has been further hit by controversy over whether or not the Chinese ambassador will attend. The Chinese Embassy here has denied speculation that ripped through London’s Tibetan and Chinese community on Friday night that ambassador Fu Ying would pull out diplomatically citing an important “official engagement”.
The torch relay of 80 athletes, entertainers and dignitaries through 10 London boroughs has prompted some participants to admit to considerable soul-searching about the ethics of supporting China’s repressive regime in Tibet.
Leading comedian Francesca Martinez has already pulled out, saying that taking part would legitimise the Chinese government’s role in Tibet. Sports personalities like Tim Henman, Kevin Pietersen and former Olympic champions Sir Steve Redgrave and Dame Kelly Holmes will take part.
Scotland Yard said at least six organisations, including the Free Tibet movement, the Falun Gong spiritual group and the Burma campaign, were planning to send a total of up to 500 demonstrators to the planned relay route. (ANI with inputs)
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