Greek police have arrested activists who demonstrated in Athens against the planned Olympic Games in Beijing. They chanted slogans such as “Boycott Beijing 2022” and “Tibet must be liberated” at the Acropolis, reports the organization Students for a Free Tibet.
Greek police say they have arrested two women and a man. Officers also confiscated the flags hung at the historic structure. It was the flag of Tibet and a flag used by activists in Hong Kong.
In Greece, the Olympic flame will be handed over to the Chinese organizers of the Games next week. Critics of the communist rulers in Beijing say it is a shame that China is allowed to organize such a prestigious international sporting event.
The protest was joined by activists from Tibet and Hong Kong, two areas that are now part of the People’s Republic of China, according to New York-based Students for a Free Tibet. It annexed Tibet in 1951 and is accused by Tibetans in exile of dismantling the area’s cultural identity.
Hong Kong was a British Crown Colony for a long time but has been part of China since 1997. At the time, it promised to grant the metropolis a special status for another half a century, but according to critics, the freedoms of residents are increasingly curtailed in practice.
Human rights group Hong Kong Watch has asked the Greek authorities not to heed any call from China to deport the activists. Instead, the organization wants the arrested demonstrators to be allowed to return to the United States.