Norway urged to reconsider torch relay


On Monday, the head of the Norwegian Olympic Committee announced that public protests should be taken into consideration when coming to a decision about participating in the Olympic torch relay.

According to Reuters, the torch was passing through London when its journey was disrupted by thousands of protesters who turned out to voice their anger at China’s human rights record and the government’s treatment of Tibet.

A day later Tove Paule reportedly said: “The International Olympic Committee may have a bigger problem when the torch relay continues, if we get more of these demonstrations.”

“One will have to look at whether the plans need to be changed,” she said.

The torch is expected to run into protests as it continues on its route. In Paris, officials were forced to cancel half of the relay due to problems with demonstrators. It is uncertain if Paule believes that the torch relay should be cancelled or merely change its proposed route.

“Should violent demonstrations occur in all the places the torch relay is visiting in the world, it is not a positive thing,” she told public broadcaster NRK. “It is a shame, because the athletic achievements we will see will disappear in the politics.”

The Olympic flame is scheduled to visit 21 cities across the globe as well as pass through every province of China, including Tibet. The torch is scheduled to arrive at the opening of the Beijing Olympics on August 8th, 2008.

From Paris, the torch travelled to San Francisco, Buenos Aires and Dar es Salaam.