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Paris on high alert for Olympic torch
April 07, 2008 14:52 IST
The Olympic torch is set to make its way into France and authorities are in no mood to take any chances.
Pro-Tibet protesters had on Sunday clashed with the police and tried to put out the Beijing Olympic torch in London. To prevent such incidents in Paris, thousands of French police are expected to protect the torch relay as it departs from the Eiffel Tower on Monday and criss-crosses Paris amid threat of protests, television channel CNN said, quoting news services.
Even though France does not support a boycott of the Games, French President Nicholas Sarkozy has hinted at skipping the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing.
France and other European countries have been calling on China to resume dialogue with the Tibetan leadership. Sarkozy's move is being seen as an attempt to pressurise the Chinese into doing the same.
On Sunday, Tibetan spiritual leader Dalai Lama called upon Tibetans to refrain from causing any hindrance to the Olympics torch relay or the Games.
In a statement issued in Dharamsala on Sunday, the spiritual leader said: "I feel the Tibetans should not cause any hindrance to the Games. It will be futile and not helpful to anyone if we do something that will create hatred in the minds of the Chinese people. Our struggle is with a few in the leadership of the People's Republic of China and not with the Chinese people. Therefore we should never cause misunderstanding or do something that will hurt the Chinese people."
Whether or not the spiritual leader's appeal will be heard by the agitating Tibetans remains to be seen.