MWC: Vancouver - Activists will take to the streets and focus attention on human rights abuses in China before the Beijing Olympics when the "human rights torch" arrives in Vancouver on May 25.
Initiated by the Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG), Apaak Clement said, the torch relay is not looking to cause problems or interruptions. “It’s a very peaceful group who are against human rights violations. They’ve got lots of support from world leaders.”
The Human Rights Torch Relay is a global grassroots effort to raise awareness of the Chinese communist regime's human rights abuses. It strongly condemns the Chinese regime’s ruthless crackdown in Tibet; the underwriting of genocide in Darfur; the ongoing persecution of Falun Gong and arrest of nearly 2,000 followers since January 1; its support of corrupt regimes in Burma, N. Korea and Zimbabwe; and persecution of Christians, lawyers, reporters and all who have become ‘prisoners of the Olympics’ as a consequence of China’s pre-Olympic whitewash.
The message behind the relay, Clement said, is that “the Olympics and crimes against humanity cannot co-exist in China.” Since it was lit on Aug. 9, 2007, in Athens, Greece, the torch has traveled to 115 cities across the world; Vancouver is its last stop in Canada.
“We invite everyone concerned with human rights in China to join in the relay at the Art Gallery, Georgia Plaza. We will start at noon with speeches from VIPs followed by the Torch Walk and a celebration with 4 local bands interspersed with speeches from NGOs and wrap up around 5pm”, Clement said.
He stressed that it is not “a campaign against the people of China. This is just [protesting] the government’s role in human rights abuses. This is supporting the people of China.”
The relay, which follows the Olympic torch relay route in some areas, plans to span five continents, 40 countries and 150 cities.
Since May 4, the torch has traveled throughout Canada from Halifax to Quebec, Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Kingston, Calgary, Edmonton and Winnipeg. http://www.humanrightstorch.org
Coalition to Investigate the Persecution of Falun Gong (CIPFG)