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Protest continues, 5 detained in Beijing

Five foreign activists were deported after they scaled a landmark building in Beijing on Friday to unfurl a “Free Tibet” banner over an Olympics billboard in the latest protest during the games.

world Updated: Aug 15, 2008 22:41 IST

Five foreign activists were deported after they scaled a landmark building in Beijing on Friday to unfurl a “Free Tibet” banner over an Olympics billboard in the latest protest during the games.

Students for a Free Tibet said the protesters — three Americans, a Briton and a Canadian — were detained by police after hanging the banner from the new headquarters of state-owned China Central Television, which is still under construction and is notable for having a shape likened to a twisted “Z.”

Britain’s Sky News shot footage of the protest, showing the helmeted activists draped in Tibetan nationalist flags and dangling from ropes as they hung the black-and-white banner about 6 meters off the ground. Police quickly took the banner down. The activists chose the CCTV building because it represents the government’s use of state media to spread propaganda, spokesman Kurt Langer said.

“They’re trying to whitewash their human rights record and present a pretty picture to the world when, in fact, behind the facade is an ugly reality and the situation in Tibet is as bad as it’s been in a very long time,” said Langer.

The Beijing Public Security Bureau said in a faxed reply to questions that the protesters had “engaged in activities that violated Chinese law.” Police have ordered the activists to leave the country, it said.

The group’s campaign director, Kate Woznow, confirmed the five activists were deported later on Friday.

It was the latest in a series of protests by activists who have sought to use the Olympic Games to criticise China for alleged repressive rule in Tibet.