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Tibetans march on IOC headquarters to protest Beijing Games

INTERNATIONAL: LAUSANNE, Switzerland: Several hundred Tibetan and Uyghur activists marched on the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on Thursday, a day before Beijing 2022 opens, accusing the Swiss-based organisation of complicity in "atrocities" committed against ethnic minorities in China.

The United States, Britain and some other allied countries have staged diplomatic boycotts of the Games over those concerns.

Chinese President Xi Jinping said that the Beijing Olympics would be streamlined, safe and splendid, even as IOC President Thomas Bach decried boycott ghosts "rearing their ugly heads again" over human rights concerns.

Tibetans from at least eight different countries in Europe, in front of the IOC building to protest against IOC awarding the Winter Olympics 2022 to the Beijing government," Karma Choekyi, head of the Tibetan Community of Switzerland and Liechtenstein

The marchers - many wrapped in the red, yellow and blue flag of Tibet and dressed in traditional robes - chanted and played drums, holding a minute of silence for their "martrys" before starting a "peace march" along Lake Geneva.

China denies allegations of human rights abuses and says it opposes the "politicisation" of sports. The Games will turn attention away from criticism over human rights, a spokesman for the organising committee said.

"I want to emphasise that the Olympics is a great spectacle for athletes and sports fans across the world. From the current situation, many countries and athletes have expressed their support for the Beijing Winter Olympics," he said.

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