Light’s out: Olympic torch snuffed in Paris

posted at 10:58 am on April 7, 2008 by Allahpundit

Total number of snuffings in modern history prior to today: Two. Total number of snuffings in the past three hours: Three. Thus does the tedious spectacle that is the Olympics momentarily become interesting:

The procession continued but, soon after, a crowd of activists waving Tibetan flags interrupted it for the first time by confronting the torchbearer on a road along the Seine River. The demonstrators did not appear to get close to the torch, but its flame was put out by security officers and brought on board a bus to continue along the route.

Less than an hour later, the flame was being carried out of a Paris traffic tunnel by an athlete in a wheelchair when the procession was halted by activists who booed and chanted “Tibet.” Once again, the torch was temporarily extinguished and put on a bus despite protesters’ apparent failure to get close.

Some 3,000 officers were deployed on motorcycles, in jogging gear and using inline roller skates. Still, police barely stopped the second rush at the torch, and the attempt to extinguish it with water. Other demonstrators scaled the Eiffel Tower and hung a banner depicting the Olympic rings as handcuffs.

The torch was extinguished for the third time when police interrupted the procession as a precaution because they spotted a crowd of demonstrators on a bridge they were approaching.

That last incident is captured below; if it’s too dull for you, try this clip from yesterday, when a protester in London tried to douse the torch with a fire extinguisher from a few feet away. Conventional wisdom has it that anything that embarrasses the ChiComs is all to the good, but read this shrewd Newsweek piece about the forces pulling the regime in opposite directions. The outcry over Tibet is making them nervous — but so is the outcry among their own youth, bred on nationalism and state propaganda, urging them not to back down from the west. It reminds me of the Saudis, caught forever between international opinion and the ire of the Frankenstein monster created by their domestic policies at home. The goal of giving Beijing the Olympics was to get them to open up. Hasn’t worked yet.

Read this Moran post too about San Francisco’s plans for protesters during the upcoming torch relay through the city. Surely a proud anti-authoritarian like Gavin Newsom is savoring the prospect of a little hardnosed dissent at the Chinese’s expense in his own backyard, no? Of course not, dummy; they’re protesting communists, not George Bush. Click the image to watch.

torch.jpg


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Sweet, the war on terror must be going great since this is the new magnet for kooks. Can we hope for Cindy Sheehan or Sean Penn to try and put out the torch with their naked bodies? How about the Berkley City Council making themselves into human torches?

MMMmmmmmaybe.

Hening on April 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM

What a ridiculous charade this global torch running saga is. Begun by Hitler before the 1936 games as a means of promoting the third reich, and continued by the tedious self-serving IOC ever since.

3000 officers deployed in London and Paris at enormous expense, when they should be fighting crime. I hope the Californians don’t waste their money in the same way. Let them protest against communism for once.

Pax americana on April 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM

How ironic.

Tony737 on April 7, 2008 at 11:09 AM

The Olympic flame snuffed out like Chinese freedoms are. It truly is appropriate….

mjk on April 7, 2008 at 11:11 AM

Drudge headline:

GRAB THE TORCH MOVES TO PARIS

amerpundit on April 7, 2008 at 11:12 AM

This is what happens when you mix politics and sports. The Olympics are become more and more political as time passes by.

TooTall on April 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Is it just me, or does anyone else find it humorous that it’s the French that keep snuffing the thing out voluntarily and then running onto a bus? Or is that just too easy?

srhoades on April 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Click the image to watch.

They sure did clear out fast!

Some 3,000 officers were deployed on motorcycles, in jogging gear and using inline roller skates.

Inline skates huh? I’d like to see that.

I think this time the protestors are, for once protesting a good cause. Unfortunately it seems diminished when they protest every little thing that comes down the pike.

4shoes on April 7, 2008 at 11:14 AM

MMMmmmmmaybe.

Hening on April 7, 2008 at 11:05 AM

“MMMmmmmmaybe” not.

davidk on April 7, 2008 at 11:15 AM

This is what happens when you mix politics and sports. The Olympics are become more and more political as time passes by.

TooTall on April 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Becoming? It was becoming a political football before football was a pro sport! And George Freakin’ BLANDA never kicked a ball as much as the games have been kicked around. It’s a political game getting the games to come to a country, it’s a political game keeping them there, it’s a political game putting them on, it’s a political game getting all the countries to show UP, and it’s a political game trying to get all the rude bastards to leave afterwards without making a mess. It ranks right up there with running an American presidential campaign in psychoses waiting to display themselves on the world stage.

It ain’t becoming, pal…It’s there.

52Ranger on April 7, 2008 at 11:22 AM

srhoades on April 7, 2008 at 11:13 AM

Yeah, I don’t think any of the articles have mentioned the dropped rifles all over the ground when they get into the vehicles.

Torch on April 7, 2008 at 11:26 AM

The torch being ‘snuffed out’ isn’t about communism at all. I’m pretty darn sure that if the people who have tried to douse the flame were attempting to do so because of communism, their banners, chantings, and demonstrations would proclaim it so. They could care less about communism during this opportunity to make their statement(s) about China’s politics.

It’s about Tibet being released from China’s grip. It’s about Tibet being ‘freed’, and the international superstar, the Dalai Lama, returning to Tibet from exile… and nothing more. And that’s a shame because it could be about China’s communism and their blatant human rights abuses. But alas, it’s simply about the continuing occupation of a tiny country and its celebrity spiritual leader.

SilverStar830 on April 7, 2008 at 11:31 AM

When I was a kid, I thought that if the torch got went out they had to go back to the beginning and start over. But then, I also believed that Olympics were about bringing nations together through sport.

smellthecoffee on April 7, 2008 at 11:36 AM

got put out, I meant. Sheesh!

smellthecoffee on April 7, 2008 at 11:36 AM

From Drudge:

EXCLUSIVE 4/7/08 11:22:13 ET: HILLARY CALLS ON BUSH TO BOYCOTT OLYMPICS OPENING… DEVELOPING…

ninjapirate on April 7, 2008 at 11:39 AM

Any reasonably successful television ratings for the Olympics have been extinguished for quite some time now.

awake on April 7, 2008 at 11:42 AM

Good. I’m not watching this year’s olympic games. The more disruptions, the better.

mram on April 7, 2008 at 11:44 AM

Wow, nothing says “Olympics” like hundreds of troops in camos surrounding the torch so densely you can hardly see it.

Clark1 on April 7, 2008 at 11:45 AM

Well, they’ve canceled the rest of the day’s torch relays because of ongoing disturbances and disruptions.

lawhawk on April 7, 2008 at 11:50 AM

It’s about Tibet being released from China’s grip. It’s about Tibet being ‘freed’, and the international superstar, the Dalai Lama, returning to Tibet from exile… and nothing more. And that’s a shame because it could be about China’s communism and their blatant human rights abuses. But alas, it’s simply about the continuing occupation of a tiny country and its celebrity spiritual leader.

And that whole free Tibet business is a bad thing? It’s a tiny little place with people who are being persecuted and killed by Communists for their beliefs. What’s so bad about protesting the Tibet thing? Did you see how the Chinese beat the crap out of those Tibetan monks earlier this year?

In my opinion, the Tibet stuff is symptomatic of the bigger issues that China faces with further scrutiny. The human rights stuff, the persecution of religious folks, etc. Sometimes it’s a little cogs on which history turns.

mjk on April 7, 2008 at 11:53 AM

The goal of giving Beijing the Olympics was to get them to open up. Hasn’t worked yet.

Actually I think its more to give communism anti-Americanism a chance.

Thats why its so cool when we show up and win.
Let’m boo.

Speakup on April 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM

“La Belle France”…

mojo on April 7, 2008 at 11:54 AM

Good for them. Tibetans deserve Liberty as much as anyone. They are laying down their lives for it. The USA should be supporting them.

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 11:55 AM

This is very ironic considering that over Christmas/New Years 2003 when I lived in Paris, Chirac ordered the Eiffel Tower to be bathed in commie red lights every night. The chicoms were in town en masse staying at luxury hotels near the ET. The ET is not allowed to be lit for Christmas but for the better part of two weeks it was commie red every night.

The chicoms thought they had bought and paid for Paris. And they were right, until today.

Inline skates huh? I’d like to see that.

There is a HUGE weekly event in Paris that begins in different points every Friday evening. It is a city wide skating event that shuts down roads and goes for miles. It is policed by riot police on inline skates and motorcycles.
If you want to see pics of the event go to http://pariroller.com/

labwrs on April 7, 2008 at 11:58 AM

Usually during the months before the Olympics we are fed heart warming stories concerning the athlete’s that will be competing in the events. With the stain of steroid use, no one seems to really have the desire to get behind any athlete. At least I don’t. Now with the “worldwide” protest surrounding the flame, I don’t feel in the Olympics mood.

When I first saw what was happening to the torch, I was disappointed. But, after discovering the route was chosen specifically to showcase China’s economic dominance around the world changed my attitude toward the protestors. I’m cheering them on, hoping they seize the torch and douse the flame. No as much as a protest for Tibet but a protest against China. And not so much about China’s government policies, but what our business community and government has allowed them to become. As 350 of my coworkers are out of a job because my company closed a US assembly plant/warehouse and moved the operations to China. These workers are just the tip, as the locale suppliers will have to layoff workers and/or shutdown. And so on, and so on….
Now that’s the flame needed to be extinguished next.

Zaire67 on April 7, 2008 at 12:09 PM

The real problem with this is while the kooks and the bureaucrats are playing idiotic political games, it is the Athletes who are made to suffer. These are talented kids, some of whom have spent their entire lives preparing for the Games, and when they see stuff like this happening, it has to be totally discouraging to them. I still recall during the Carter Administration when they pulled out of the Summer Games because of some stupidity the Russians were involved in at the time, and crushed God knows many dreams in the process. I am just hoping that does not happen again this time. This is why the Olympic Games should have never been set-up to play from country to country. There is only one place the Games belong and should only be played at, and that is in Greece, the country of their origins. Then at least, you would see the politics thrown out of the whole event.

pilamaye on April 7, 2008 at 12:20 PM

We can only hope that people will stay away from the Games in droves and that it is a financial disaster for Beijing.

Athletically, it’s a disaster already. The pollution will probably prevent many new records from being set and is severe enough to be a threat to the participants. Maybe Al Gore can throw in with the protesters as well, since China now produces more CO2 than we do. they could then do us the first favor they’ve done us in decades by locking the Goracle up and discarding the key.

michaelo on April 7, 2008 at 12:21 PM

Far be it from me to belittle the Tibetan cause – but I might just have to anyway.

Firstly, I would draw a distinction between the Tibetans themselves and the Western “protesters” who simply look for a bandwagon to jump on. There are a number of things about the “Free Tibet” protests that grate with me.

Firstly, it is such a ’cause celebre’ amongst the tree-hugging, eco-friendly lefty-liberals because it is trendily Buddhist (frankly Buddhism has for some time been the religion of ‘right-on’). If the entire nation of Tibet converted en masse to Christianity or Judaism the same people protesting for a “Free Tibet” would instantaneously cease to give a shit.

Second, it is conveniently far away that your Western hippy can protest to his hearts content without actually taking on any physical risk to himself from the Chinese authorities (compare and contrast with militant Islam where the global ‘reach’ of the fundamentalist has been well demonstrated).

Third, your beardy-weirdy knows full well that no Western government would even countenance military intervention, far less be able to carry it through, and hence he will never be faced with the dilemma of supporting military action in conflict with his abiding anti-war (but pro-violent protest) tendencies (compare and contrast Iraq, or anywhere that the West actually intervenes in).

Fourth, all your muesli-muncher has to offer revolves around economic sanctions and yet he knows full well that no Western government is going to risk economic suicide and so simultaneous with spouting all his worthless faux-outraged verbiage he can rest assured that his supply of organic sandals will not dry up.

And so our hair-braided imbecile can have a bit of a lark, try and put out a torch with a fire extinguisher or bravely try and wrestle it off a five-foot tall female children’s television presenter with no personal risk to himself physically, economically or any other which way, safe in the knowledge that his idiotic protest will achieve the square-root of nothing except that he gets to feel better about himself at no cost.

schiehallion on April 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM

I can’t help feeling bad for the poor kids who worked and practiced their whole lives for this opportunity to compete, and are getting totally overshadowed by this mess.

Tanya on April 7, 2008 at 12:35 PM

schiehallion on April 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Perfect. I have nothing to add after that.

HawaiiLwyr on April 7, 2008 at 12:49 PM

I want to pee on the Olympic torch. For the symbolic value mostly, but also to snuff it.

Akzed on April 7, 2008 at 12:51 PM

“Tedious spectacle.” An inspired description, AP. That about sums up my feelings about the Olympics. I’m trying to remember the last time I watched any of it — I think it was Calgary. Boring events, insipid commentators, embarrassing attempts at creating drama — my eyes are rolling in my head with the memories.

Splashman on April 7, 2008 at 1:07 PM

schiehallion on April 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM

Yep, that’s perfect. Thanks.

Splashman on April 7, 2008 at 1:09 PM

schiehallion on April 7, 2008 at 12:28 PM

So…you hate hippies so screw Tibet?

ronsfi on April 7, 2008 at 1:12 PM

I would like to say I’m boycotting the Olympics because they’re being held in a totalitarian hell hole, but I’m not.

I’ve had no interest in the summer Olympics for years. Would rather watch good ol’ American baseball.

NoDonkey on April 7, 2008 at 1:49 PM

Unhuh. Liberal terrorists. If we can’t have our way “we’ll snuff out the torch of peace!”

Protest. Fine. But how is this different from Code Pink, etc. Resistance. Chaos. Anarchy.

I might support a boycott, but this is just stupidity. It’s not like the “torch bearer” was some ChiCom party member. If it was understood that the torch bearer was the spirit of the Olympics, they’d snuff (their life) out too.

Agrippa2k on April 7, 2008 at 1:54 PM

The Olympics are like the UN – a worthless joke – with one purpose only, the facade of international unity.

To give the Olympics to China, is as grotesque as having given it to Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union.

How come I’m always wanting to vomit?

OhEssYouCowboys on April 7, 2008 at 2:01 PM

It is surely a shame that Tibet is being oppressed by China. I have no objection to those protests or wishing Tibet liberty to be its own nation as well as to practice its religion.

I wish people could get as upset over persecuted Christians as well.

Mommynator on April 7, 2008 at 2:19 PM

WOW… they actually did it…

Drunk Report on April 7, 2008 at 3:46 PM

And that whole free Tibet business is a bad thing?
mjk on April 7, 2008 at 11:53 AM

No no … don’t misunderstand. I’m truly for Tibet all the way. They’re a very peaceful country, populated by very kind and peaceful people who deserve their autonomy and liberty returned, and they’re in the iron fisted grip of a gigantic nation feuled by communism and a cult-of-personality that places little value on human rights and life, as was pointed out in the original blog post.

My point was that there is so much more than an international celebrity monk and a small country to demonstrate for. That’s just the tip of the iceberg, and the rest of the iceberg seems to be ignored by those kicking up the ruckus. However, I understand that Tibet is in the forefront as they have been subjugated by China for a very long time and with the recent Tibet riots and media appearances of the Dalai Lama coinciding with the beginning of the Olympics torch tour, it’s the prevelant cause.

SilverStar830 on April 7, 2008 at 5:17 PM

Tanya, you nailed it. It is the athletes who have dedicated their lives for this moment that are getting screwed

Ltmousseman on April 7, 2008 at 5:43 PM