A small group of Tibet activists held a small demonstration at the entrance of the Chinese Ethnic Culture Park not far from the Olympic stadium yesterday around 12.30pm. According to Austin Ramzy of TIME Magazine who was there on site, the demonstration was “hardly a blockbuster”. He described the protest as follows:
The first attempt at unfurling a banner on the overpass was apparently a diversionary tactic, so the other demonstrators could barricade themselves behind a row of bikes at the park’s entrance. It was a pretty small affair, the sort of thing one would ignore on the streets of New York or London. But because this is Beijing during the Games the police took it pretty seriously. I will give them credit for at least giving the demonstrators a brief window to say their piece, though possibly that was because the cops were just deciding what to do. After about 10 minutes the protesters were all bundled away.
British journalist John Ray of Independent Television News was also detained during the kerfuffle and allegedly roughed up by Chinese policemen who accuse him of having unfurled a Tibetan flag, drawing a strong rebuke from the Foreign Correspondents Club of China who have now demanded for an apology from the Chinese authorities. In a statement released by the FCCC:
Police in Beijing roughed up and detained a British journalist after he covered a Free Tibet protest close to the city’s main Olympic zone. John Ray of Independent Television News said he was pinned down by police, dragged along the floor and pushed into a police van. The authorities also confiscated his equipment, pulled off his shoes, filmed him and accused him of trying to unfurl a Tibetan flag, he said. He denies the accusation, saying he was only trying to cover the protest. “The Foreign Correspondents’ Club of China is appalled by the detention and rough treatment of John Ray, an accredited journalist,less than a kilometer from the main Olympic stadium. We call on the authorities to return his equipment, apologise, and investigate potential illegal action or abuse of authority by police,” said Jonathan Watts, president of the FCCC.
Beijing, August 8, 2008
TIME: Olympic Protests: Low-Key Response
ITN: ITV News correspondent John Ray arrested in China (video)
The Guardian: British journalist detained by Beijing police after covering Free Tibet protest
WSJ Blogs: Journalists Protest After Correspondent’s Detention