Human Rights Olympic Torch Relay passes through Prague

Photo: CTK

Dozens of people assembled in the centre of Prague on Wednesday afternoon to watch the arrival of the Human Rights Olympic Torch Relay which is passing through more than one hundred cities in 35 countries. Held in protest against human rights abuse in China, which is to host the Summer Olympic Games in 2008, it has won support from leading political, cultural and moral authorities the world over.

Participants carried banners demanding the abolition of work camps for political prisoners and a stop to human rights abuse in China. Czech writer Jiri Stransky who took part in the torch relay says he is strongly against the 2008 Summer Olympics being hosted by China.

Photo: CTK
The torch arrived in Prague from Germany carried by seven-year-old Fa Du Chen from Australia who passed it into the hands of Czech human rights activists near the Prague memorial to the victims of communism. The procession then wound its way through the city centre to Old Town Square, with people taking turns to carry the torch for a symbolic stretch of the road.

"The ideals of Pierre de Coubertin are so pure and so democratic that I cannot stand the idea of seeing them presented by a country such as China is today. The idea of this is so absurd that I did not hesitate for a moment to support this initiative."

Support for the Human Rights Olympic torch relay has also been expressed by the former president Vaclav Havel, Bishop Vaclav Maly as well as a number of leading politicians, actors and singers. The torch relay has now moved on to the Moravian city of Brno in the eastern part of the country. It will pass through other European cities before going on to Australia, North and South America and eventually reach Asia in August of 2008. The activists hope that the round the world tour will end in Beijing.