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Hong Kong police eject Tibet activist from Olympic venue
AFP[Saturday, August 09, 2008 13:09]
Local student and activist Christina Chan (C-right-orange top) and an unidentified friend are surrounded by Hong Kong security before she was forcibly removed from the first day of the Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong on August 9, 2008 after she tried to display a protest placard from the stands. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Local student and activist Christina Chan (C-right-orange top) and an unidentified friend are surrounded by Hong Kong security before she was forcibly removed from the first day of the Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong on August 9, 2008 after she tried to display a protest placard from the stands. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Hong Kong, August 9 - A pro-Tibet activist in Hong Kong said Saturday she was forced to leave the Olympic equestrian venue as the Games got under way here on Saturday.

The Hong Kong university student, who has a history of staging protests against the Chinese government, said she planned to unfurl a Tibetan flag inside the Olympic venue, but was forced to leave before she could do so.

Christina Chan said Olympic security staff first asked her to leave the venue, then called in police, who surrounded her and physically removed her.

"I was only holding a Canadian flag, I planned to use that as a decoy. But they said I'd broken the rules and would have to leave. The whole thing was pretty ridiculous," she told AFP.

"My friend went into the venue first and he snuck in the Tibetan flag and a banner, because I knew they would search me.

"I'm pretty upset, I got a bit scratched up and I'm bleeding from the elbow."

Hong Kong security remove local student and activist Christina Chan (C) from the first day of the Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Hong Kong security remove local student and activist Christina Chan (C) from the first day of the Olympic equestrian event in Hong Kong. (Photo: AFP/Getty Images)
Tibet is one of the most contentious political issues facing the communist rulers of China, and Hong Kong authorities are determined not to cause embarrassment despite the territory's tradition of freedom of speech.

Organisers said Chan had breached International Olympic Committee rules.

"It is against IOC regulations to be propagating political slogans or aiming to create racial hatred," the Equestrian Company running events here on behalf of the Beijing Olympic Committee said in a statement.

It said Chan and another unidentified protestor "were advised to leave the venue."

"The incident was regrettable," it said. "Not only have they breached the IOC regulations, they also disturbing other spectators, hence they were told to leave and would not be welcome back."

Around 9,600 people turned up at the Shatin venue for the dressage round of the three-day eventing section of the equestrian games.

Police have designated "protest zones" for demonstrators -- who have so far turned up in noisy groups outside the Hong Kong venues to demonstrate against China's human rights abuses.
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