Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Olympic Torch Protests

Both London's and Paris' Olympic torch relay routes were marred by protesters who almost got a grip of the torch. In France, the torch had to be extinguished a few times to prevent injury. In San Francisco, however, there were barricades, and police motorcycles on both sides of the torchbearer, dozens of uniformed officers walking along parallel, facing the left and right sides of the route, and unmarked sedans leading and following the procession. Why did London' and Paris' relays seem more violent? Because the government did not order such an intense police presence. They wanted their people to show their disgust of China, and show it to the rest of the world that the government dislikes her too. The US, on the other hand, cannot risk something like that. The US wants to have a friendly relationship with China. There is, of course, another reason why the relay in San Francisco, the only stop in North America, was so peaceful. Residents are just not as active in world politics and current issues as their counterparts in the UK and France. Remember a few protests in France a few years ago against the Iraq war, or any protest in France? They care about their role in the world. We should (have) too.

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