UPDATED 5:20 PM PT – Sunday, October 17, 2021
The Olympic flame for next year’s games in China is set to be lit at an empty stadium amid growing international opposition to Beijing hosting the games. According to the Hellenic Olympic Committee, the ceremony of lighting the Olympic flame will take place in accordance with local COVID-19 protocols.
Reports found the flame-lighting ceremony in Beijing will have no spectators in attendance. Human rights activists have said the Beijing Games must be boycotted due to China’s repressive policies, foreign aggressions and role in the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are calling on a full boycott of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics due to China’s genocide against the Uyghur people and the unprecedented levels of repression inside Tibet, Hong Kong, Southern Mongolia, and independent and democratic Taiwan. We are calling on world leaders and people of conscious, the international community, to join our boycott in support of human rights all around the world,” said Grassroots Director for Students for a Free Tibet, Tenzin Yangzom.
Tibet & Hong Kong student activists have just been arrested at the Acropolis in Athens in protest of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, just 48 hours before the Olympic Torch will be handed to Beijing in the very same place.
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— Students for a Free Tibet (@SFTHQ) October 17, 2021
The Olympic flame is currently traveling across Greece ahead of its departure for Beijing.
Meanwhile in Athens, two American citizens were arrested while protesting the upcoming Winter Olympics. The two women were arrested after they climbed a scaffolding, later hanging the Tibetan flag along with a banner proclaiming “Free Hong Kong–Revolution.”
They also yelled out “boycott Beijing 2020.” The Associated Press reported the entire incident lasted about 10 minutes. Tibetan and Hong Kong activists said the protest stemmed from human rights violations by China.