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Tibetans light Beijing 2008 protest flame at Olympia
AFP[Tuesday, March 11, 2008 15:06]
Tsultim Gope, a shot-putter and member of the Tibet team who participates with other protesters in a flame lighting ceremony, holds a National flag, at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. The event was held ahead of the official flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on March 24, to highlight the opposition to Chinese rule of Tibet and commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.
(AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
Tsultim Gope, a shot-putter and member of the Tibet team who participates with other protesters in a flame lighting ceremony, holds a National flag, at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. The event was held ahead of the official flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on March 24, to highlight the opposition to Chinese rule of Tibet and commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
ATHENS, March 10 - A group of Tibetans on Monday lit a symbolic flame at Olympia, birthplace of the ancient Olympic Games, to protest against their country’s occupation by China, host of this year’s Olympics.

“It was a five-minute ceremony by a group of ten Tibetans,” a staff member at the Olympia archaeological museum told AFP.

“They did not have permission to access the ancient stadium site, so they conducted it in a parking lot outside.”

Police halted the ceremony and a minor scuffle ensued but no arrests were made, local police director Athanassios Spyropoulos told AFP.

“We stopped them discreetly because such ceremonies are not allowed at an archaeological site,” he said.

“There was no chance that the Greek authorities would permit an event undercutting the actual Olympic flame ceremony,” the museum staffer added.

The Olympic flame ritual - which launches the Games torch relay - has been held in ancient Olympia since the 1936 Berlin Games.

The official ceremony for the Beijing Games will be held on March 24.

Click here to view the video.

Pro-Tibet protesters, dressed in traditional Tibetan costume, participate in a flame lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. The event was held ahead of the official flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on March 24, to highlight the opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet and commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day.
(AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
Pro-Tibet protesters, dressed in traditional Tibetan costume, participate in a flame lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. The event was held ahead of the official flame lighting ceremony for the Beijing Olympics on March 24, to highlight the opposition to Chinese rule in Tibet and commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
A Greek Police officer tries to prevent pro-Tibet protesters, dressed in traditional Tibetan costume, from participating in a flame lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
A Greek Police officer tries to prevent pro-Tibet protesters, dressed in traditional Tibetan costume, from participating in a flame lighting ceremony at Ancient Olympia, outside of the archeological site, the birthplace of the ancient Olympic games, on Monday, March 10, 2008. (AP Photo/Dimitri Messinis)
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