Spectators cheer and wave Chinese
national flags as they watch the Olympic torch relay in Paris, capital of
FranceúČon April 7, 2008. Paris is the fifth stop of the 2008 Beijing
Olympic Games torch relay outside the Chinese mainland. (Xinhua
PARIS, April 7 (Xinhua) -- The Olympic torch relay
concluded in Paris Monday afternoon, after repeated disruptions by Tibetan
separatists and their supporters which aroused indignation from spectators and
The torch was forced to be put on an accompanying bus
for four times in the afternoon as precautions against the protestors, a Xinhua
photographer reported. The journey was cut short and brought to the final place
Earlier, a protestor tried to use a fire extinguisher
to put out the Olympic torch, but was stopped by police, and another one failed
in his attempt to snatch the torch from a torchbearer.
At least five protesters were detained for blocking
the Beijing Olympic torch relay in the French capital, the AFP news agency
Henri Serandour, head of the French Olympic Committee
on Monday criticized the protests as "highly regrettable."
"I think that people should have let this flame
through, that they could have held their protests to one side," he said.
"Everyone has a right to express themselves but to
stop it passing shows a lack of respect for the basic freedom of our athletes to
carry this flame, which is a message of peace to the whole world," the chief
Another member of the French Olympic Committee said
here Monday that the Olympic torch relay should not be affected in any way.
"The Olympic sacred fire is a symbol of peace,
tolerance... and should not be affected by anybody in any way," Guy Drut told
France 3 television.
Spectators of the Beijing Olympic torch relay were
greatly annoyed and angered by Tibetan separatists and their supporters
attempting to disrupt the Monday event in Paris, the fifth leg of the flame's
"We've come here only to watch the torch relay," said
a Paris student, who gave his first name as Mark.
"What in the world does this have anything to do with
us except for annoying us?" he added, pointing to Tibetan separatist
Jiang Xiaoyu (R), executive vice
president of the Organizing Committee of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games,
gives the torch to a French representative at the start of the Olympic
torch relay in Paris, capital of France, on April 7, 2008. Paris is the
fifth stop of the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games torch relay outside the
Chinese mainland. (Xinhua/Zhou Wenjie)
Liu Zijun, a Chinese student studying in Paris told
Xinhua that the Beijing Olympic Games is a big event for China, she and her
friends were very angry about the protests around the relay of the sacred fire.
"A majority of the French people are friendly towards
China, but they have no knowledge about what really happened in Tibet and have
been misled by some western media's distorted reports," Liu said, adding those
media have played a "very bad role" in the matter.
Tens of thousands spectators went to the street of
Paris to watch the torch relay, which covers 28 kilometers starting the Eiffel
Tower and ending at the Stade (Stadium) Charlety in the south of the city.
Many on-lookers waved Chinese flags to cheer the
event or put flag stickers on the face.
One of them told Xinhua that some of the flags were
hand-made by themselves or posted by their friends in China.
Spokesman of the torch relay center of the Beijing
Olympic Organization Committee Qu Yingpu said that the torch relay started in
Paris smoothly, but has encountered protests during the process. Due to
technical and safety reasons, the relay team had to change the ways of torch
bearing four times during the process and put the torch onto the bus before the
relay was resumed towards the south of Paris.
On Sunday, he said that as the highest symbol of the
Olympic spirit, the Olympic flame represents peace, friendship and progress.
Under the authorization of the International Olympic Committee, the Beijing
Olympic torch relay is taking its journey of harmony throughout the world,
sharing the passion and glory of the Olympics with the world, and has received
warm welcome from the people en route.
However, a few "pro-Tibet independence" activists
have attempted to interrupt the torch relay during its journey in grave
violation of the Olympic spirit, as the Olympic flame belongs to the world. The
act will surely arouse resentment of the peace-loving people, and is bound to
fail, he said.
The Beijing Olympic torch relay takes place on Monday
in Paris, the fifth leg of its global tour.
The 2008 Olympic flame was ignited on March 24 in
Ancient Olympia of Greece and was handed over to Beijing on March 31 after a
six-day relay in Greece.
The 130-day torch relay will cover 137,000 km before
the flame returns to Beijing and enters the National Stadium on Aug. 8 for the
Olympics' opening ceremony.
A total of 21,880 torch bearers will be participating
in the unprecedented relay, which is held under the theme of "Journey of