Brazilian activist flies Tibetan flag at Rio Olympics venue


2016-rio-olympics759-1(, Aug16, 2016) – Tibet may not be represented at the ongoing Rio Olympics in Brazil. However, a Tibetan national flag flutters in the middle of flags from some of the countries competing in the Games at a stall in the food park in front of the Rio media centre, reported Aug 14. Sharing space with half a dozen other flags, the Tibetan flag, with its snow lions and a rising sun, was hanging from a white canopy under which sat a stage with speakers playing Tibetan instrumental music, the report added.

The flag was planted by a Brazilian named Romero, a food business owner who is also an activist. He organises food events and festivals in different parts of Rio and other tourism-related activities, besides being an activist.

Eight years ago, when Beijing was hosting the Games and the Olympic torch relay was coming under attack all over the world in protest against China’s human rights record, Romero, originally from Greece but raised in Brazil, had landed at the Tiananmen Square to protest. It earned him 40 days in a Chinese prison.

“It was worth it. I am happy to fight for freedom. It’s a pity that the Tibetans can’t take part in the Olympics,” the report quoted the activist as saying. “But this flag represents the Tibetans who could not be here.”

Romero had no doubt that Chinese pressure may reach his stall. But he is not afraid. “I am displaying the Tibetan flag to show our solidarity with the Tibetans who are refugees in different parts of the world, mostly in India,” he was quoted as saying. He felt that the Chinese who might see the Tibetan flag as red rag may complain to the Brazilian authorities.

But for now, the Tibetan flag has been there on display at the stall right the media centre opened in Rio 20 days ago.

“Maybe one day Tibet will participate in the Olympics and the World Cup,” Romero was quoted as saying.


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