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UK to allow protests over Olympic flame

india Updated: Mar 25, 2008 23:45 IST

Britain will allow Tibet protestors to demonstrate in London when the Olympic flame comes here in April, Foreign Secretary David Miliband said here on Tuesday.
But he also underlined the need for moderation over Tibet, which is threatening to cloud the Beijing Olympic Games this year after unrest in the Chinese-ruled Himalayan region.

"Our own traditions of free speech and free demonstration must be upheld in respect of all matters, including the passage of the Olympic torch," scheduled for April 6, Miliband told lawmakers.

The flame "should, I believe, pass with full security but also full respect for our own democratic freedoms," he said.
The violence in Tibet and subsequent clampdown has cast a shadow over the planning for the August 8-24 Olympic Games, which Beijing hopes will be a showpiece for the nation.

Tibet's spiritual leader The Dalai Lama, who has said he is open to dialogue with Beijing, reiterated a pledge on Tuesday to resign as spokesman for the Tibetan people if there were more violent anti-Chinese protests.
Miliband warned that Tibet protestors should listen to the Dalai Lama's calls for moderation.

"The Dalai Lama has made it his business over the last 50 years not to argue for independence for Tibet, to voice calls for moderation and for dialogue," he said.
"And the danger is that people give up on that course and turn to a more violent course of action. The need for political dialogue has never been greater."