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"On my part, I remain committed to the process of dialogue. It is my firm belief that dialogue and a willingness to look with honesty and clarity at the reality of Tibet can lead us to a viable solution."

Greek Police Detain Tibetan Activists

June 8, 2008

June 6, 2008

ATHENS, June 6 (Reuters) - Greek police on Friday detained eight
Tibetan activists protesting for a second day outside the venue of an
International Olympic Committee (IOC) conference in Athens.

Police seized the campaigners, who had unfurled Tibetan flags and
held banners reading "Open Tibet to media", and transferred them to a
nearby police station, where they were held for two hours.

The activists, members of the Students For a Free Tibet group were
demanding that the IOC cancels the Olympic torch relay in Tibet or
forces China to allow media in.

"They have now been released, with no charges pressed against them,"
said a police official who declined to be named.

The protesters said police disrupted their protest, but they had made
their point.

"It was a quick and forceful detention," said the 32-year old group's
director, Lhadon Tethong. "We came to have our voices heard and IOC
has clearly heard us," she said.

On Thursday, police stopped another pro-Tibet protest, lifting four
young Tibetan women, draped with national flags, who had lain down
blocking the entrance of the Athens Hilton hotel, where the IOC was meeting.

"The IOC has a responsibility either to cancel the Tibet torch relay
leg or to ensure media access as China had pledged during its bid for
the Games," Tethong said.

Activists have caused serious disruptions to the Olympic torch relay
ahead of the Aug. 8-24 Games in Beijing, protesting against a Chinese
crackdown in Tibet, which China has ruled since a 1950 invasion.

The IOC board members were in Athens for a meeting to announce the
shortlist for the 2016 Olympics, before the final decision in October
2009. Chicago, Tokyo, Madrid and Rio de Janeiro made the first cut.
(Reporting by Renee Maltezou; Editing by Ibon Villelabeitia)
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