Police detain seven pro-Tibet protestors near Olympic Village

Society Materials 13 August 2008 11:39 (UTC +04:00)

Chinese police on Monday detained seven pro-Tibet protestors who unfurled banners and spoke out about China's human rights abuses in Tibet near the Olympic Village, a Tibetan rights group said.

Five of the protestors, wearing T-shirts that said "Free Tibet" went there on bicycles and two of them chained themselves to the main gate of the China Ethnic Culture Park, said Kate Woznow, campaign director for the New York-based group Students for a Free Tibet, dpa reported.

One of the protestors, a Tibetan-Japanese woman, spoke about the park and the suppression of Tibetans by Chinese authorities in Tibet, said Woznow.

Two other protestors unfurled a Tibet banner on a bridge near the park's entrance.

"Seven people have been detained," Woznow told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa by telephone from New York. "The protest started around 12:30 pm and lasted five to seven minutes."

All of the protestors except for the Tibetan-Japanese woman were Americans, Woznow said.

A journalist from British TV station ITV News was detained for half an hour while trying to cover the protest.

"The protest might be illegal but reporting was legal. It was a gross violation of rules for reporting," the reporter John Ray told dpa after he was released.

Some of the protestors were members of Students for a Free Tibet, which has held several protests in Beijing before and during the August 8-24 2008 Olympic Games. Others were simply Tibet supporters, Woznow said.

On Sunday, police detained five Tibetan independence supporters who unfurled a Tibetan flag and shouted "Free Tibet" at Beijing's Tiananmen Square, dragging at least two of them into a shop on the edge of the square.