A screen grab of Daniel Leer running across the London Olympic torch convoy in Henley with 'Free Tibet' written on his back
DHARAMSHALA, July 11: A British male, with ‘Free Tibet’ written in large letters on his back and carrying a fake torch, ran naked across the front of the London Olympic torch convoy as it travelled through Henley.
Daniel Leer, 27 ran a short distance past crowds waiting to see the torch relay beside the River Thames before officers tackled him and covered him up.
However, the Henley leg of the torch relay, attended by thousands of people, was not interrupted.
The London based rights group Free Tibet said the event was “undoubtedly funny” but noted that the streaker managed to put the spotlight on the deteriorating human rights situation inside Tibet.
“This man’s comical and innovative protest reflects the fact this year, at an events that advertises itself as a coming together of all nations, that Tibet will once again be unrepresented because of the continued Chinese occupation,” the group said.
Leer has been released on bail to appear at Oxford Magistrates' Court on July 25.
Since 2009, an alarming number of 43 Tibetans have set themselves on fire demanding freedom in Tibet and the return of exiled Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.
In the past months, Chinese security personnel have shot at peaceful anti-China demonstrators, killings and wounding scores of Tibetans.
The Dharamshala based Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile in a recent statement said China’s harsh crackdown on Tibetans since 2008 has led to the current situation.
“Consequently, the Tibetan people have been setting themselves on fire one after another to demand a peaceful resolution of the Tibetan issue, return of His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Tibet and to let the UN and the international community know about the Tibetan people’s aspirations and the sorrows hidden deep within their hearts,” the Tibetan lawmakers said. “Tibet today is like hell on earth.”
Four years ago, following the pan-Tibet uprisings in 2008, the Beijing Olympic torch relay was marred with protests and interruptions all over the world.