The feel-good, heroic patina typically associated with the Olympics is quickly degenerating into a symbol of oppression of the Tibetan people. After years of simmering on the back pages, the issue has finally erupted front and center, stirring protest and chaos.
Coca-Cola and NBC Universal must be very uneasy right now. Per this human rights website: "Coca-Cola is the Olympic movement’s longest continuous corporate sponsor, beginning in 1928 and pledging its support through 2008, according to Coca-Cola’s Olympics web page (www2.coca-cola.com/citizenship/Olympics.html)"
ETA: the Coca-Cola page seems to have disappeared….
ETA: The link is here.
Per Coca-Cola: "We have renewed our historic bond with the IOC through 2020, extending this extraordinary relationship to nearly a full century."
ETA: Coca Cola’s Olympic Torch Relay page is here.
From the San Francisco Chronicle:
(04-07) 11:40 PDT SAN FRANCISCO — Three demonstrators scaled the south tower of the Golden Gate Bridge this morning and unfurled a banner in a protest aimed at drawing attention to Chinese human rights violations in Tibet.
Click here for the photo.
The NY Times reports:
PARIS - What was supposed to be a majestic procession through the French capital for the Olympic torch turned into chaos Monday as thousands of people from around Europe, many with Tibetan flags, massed to protest the relay and deny China the promotional boost it hoped for in the runup to the games.
The torch went out several times, and police officers had to bring it onto a bus to try to protect it as demonstrators swarmed the security detail. In the end, organizers canceled the final leg of the procession, deciding to have the torch transported by bus.
On Wednesday, the torch arrives in San Francisco. I expect the protests will be big and noisy.
Planned events are listed here on SFteamtibet.org, including protests in front of the Chinese embassy and a rally featuring Richard Gere and Desmond Tutu.
A billboard in the San Francisco area: