For full coverage of the protests the BBC has been the most up-to-date and comprehensive news source today. The photos below show some of the stories of the day from the streets.
Torch Relay – Celebrations
Although in most parts of London anti-Beijing protesters managed to overshadow the torch relay, in Chinatown the atmosphere was much more one of celebration. The local Chinese community were certainly happy to welcome the Olympic flame, and the entertainment was also excellent! See these celebrations in full video too.
A solitary woman with a Tibetan flag was the only sign of protest against the Olympics in Chinatown. Her presence was understandably treated somewhat hostilely, and flag bearers from London Chinatown Chinese Association attempted to hide her flag with their own; an interesting metaphor, perhaps?
Torch Relay – Local support
The atmosphere in Chinatown was good, as the cold weather failed to suppress high spirits. Local businesses, including the Everwell Chinese medicine shop, were out to show their support for Beijing.
Torch Relay – High security
The heavy security surrounding the torch relay did impair the experience for spectators, as the passing torch could barely be seen behind the ranks of police. The Chinese ambassador was apparently bearing the torch for the Chinatown leg, but you would never have known.
Torch Relay – Face-off
As ‘pro-Tibet’ protesters and ‘pro-China’ protesters converged in Whitehall, from the directions of Parliament Square and Trafalgar Square respectively, there was a face off between the groups on opposite sides of the road. From one side came the Chinese national anthem and chants of ‘China, China’ while the other side chanted ‘Free Tibet’ and ‘Shame on China’.
Torch Relay – Debate
As ‘pro-Tibet’ and ‘pro-China’ protesters mingled in Whitehall some engaged in debate, arguing their respective causes. This is the kind of exchange that should be happening much more, and that unfortunately seems so difficult within China. Bob would like to congratulate both men pictured for engaging in dialogue.
Torch Relay – Chinese supporters
The media coverage has been dominated by the presence of pro-Tibetan protesters and others with grievances with the Chinese authorities, but the presence of large numbers of supporters of the Beijing Olympics was also striking.