The Olympic flame for the Beijing Winter Games (February 4-20, 2022) was lit at the ancient Greek site of Olympia on Monday, a ceremony briefly disrupted by protesters who unfurled a Tibetan flag before being arrested.
No Genocide Games
" also proclaimed a banner barely unfolded by these demonstrators, arrested by a security employee.
The results of the 2020 Olympics
The Olympic medal table
The flame was lit shortly after 12:00 local time by the rays of a radiant sun on the ruins of the ancient temple of Hera in Olympia, cradle of the Games of Antiquity, in the absence of the public due to the Covid pandemic -19. Only Thomas Bach, President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou, representatives of the Greek and Chinese Olympic Committees and accredited journalists were present.
For the second time in a row, after the Tokyo Olympics, and the third in the history of the modern Olympics, the traditional ceremony was held behind closed doors due to the global health crisis.
Before this pandemic, the flame was only lit behind closed doors in 1984, when Greek organizers wanted to protest against the commercial nature of the Los Angeles Olympics.
Several actresses dressed in the long light and pleated dresses of the former priestesses performed on Monday a choreography in the ancient stadium before the lighting of the torch.
Also dressed as a former Greek priestess, actress Xanthi Georgiou lit the flame in a traditional way, thanks to the rays of the sun passing through a parabolic mirror.
"Greed before Olympic ideals"
In these difficult times that we are still living, the Beijing-2022 Winter Olympics will be an important moment to bring the world together in a spirit of peace, friendship and solidarity,
" said IOC President Thomas Bach . The flame lighting ceremony for the 2008 Beijing Olympics had already been disrupted in Olympia by Reporters Without Borders (RSF) activists.
Once again, calls for a boycott of the Beijing Games and protests around the issue of human rights in China, particularly concerning the Uyghur minority but also in Hong Kong, have multiplied in recent weeks. A spokesperson for the London-based organization Free Tibet sent in a press release the names of the protesters arrested Monday at the Olympia site, Chemi Lhamo, Jason Leith and Fern MacDougal.
How can China host the 2022 Olympics as it leads an unprecedented campaign of repression in Tibet (...), destroying Hong Kong democracy and committing genocide against the Uyghurs,
" said Chemi Lhamo, cited in this press release. For Jason Leith "
the International Olympic Committee has on several occasions put greed before the Olympic ideals, it is therefore up to governments around the world to act and withdraw their teams from Beijing-2022
On Sunday, three Tibetan activists had already been arrested at the Acropolis in Athens after waving the Tibetan flag and that of the "
Hong Kong revolution
" while chanting "
" and "
". On Tuesday, a press conference will be organized in Athens by Tibetan and Uyghur representatives and human rights experts to "
denounce the profound failure of the International Olympic Committee as the Olympic flame, symbol of peace and hope, is delivered to Beijing -2022
But Thomas Bach stressed that "
as the global coronavirus pandemic has clearly shown, we can only meet the many challenges of this world in solidarity
There is no peace without solidarity,
" he insisted. The flame was carried by the first torchbearer, the Greek skier Giannis Antoniou, followed by the Chinese Li Jiajun, five times Olympic champion in speed skating.
Contrary to tradition, the organizers had warned that there would be "
no torch relay on Greek soil
" and that the flame would be transferred directly to Athens to spend the night from Monday to Tuesday at the Acropolis, before being handed over to the Chinese organizers.
It will be delivered in record time to the Chinese organizers: in less than 24 hours, it will be sent to the Beijing-2022 committee during a ceremony without an audience on Tuesday at 12 p.m. at the Athens Marble Stadium - where the first Olympic Games of the modern era had taken place in 1896 - before flying to Beijing.