Burmese activists protest SF torch run

March 31, 2008 9:15:48 AM PDT
Burmese activists are adding their voice to the chorus of protests over the Olympic torch route through San Francisco.

Also on Friday, Nancy Pelosi issued a statement saying she would not support a U.S. boycott of the Beijing games.

Burmese activists joined Tibetan demonstrators on the steps of San Francisco's City Hall on Friday, calling on the city to reject the Olympic torch run in April.

Nyunt Than is president of the Burmese Democratic Alliance. He delivered a letter and petition to the mayor, describing Burma's brutal military leadership and China's role in supporting it.

"China is defending this regime because it wants our gas, our natural resources and also our market and also China wants our roads to the Indian Ocean for its military," said Than.

Than fears the torch run sends a message of support for China's politics.

"They cannot host precious Olympics, use Olympics to cover up atrocities that China's causing around the world. Not only Burma, but Tibet, Darfur, even inside China," said Than.

Longtime China critic Nancy Pelosi visited the Dalai Lama in India last week. On Friday, she issued a statement saying she believes it was a mistake to award the games to China.

She said: "However, I believe a boycott of the Beijing Olympics would unfairly harm our athletes who have worked so hard to prepare for the competition."

John Nelson chairs USF'S Asian Studies department. He says it may not take a boycott to get china to respond.

"They see it terms of sovereign rights of the Chinese government to control what they consider to be a sovereign territory but when the international community raises its voice in this way it does raise a new perspective for the Chinese government to deal with," said Nelson.

In an apparent bow to international pressure, China is allowing foreign diplomats to visit violence-torn Tibet -- A U.S. diplomat is expected to be on that trip.


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