Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Arrests, censorship, corporations behind Olympics

Democracy Now!:

While NBC has been airing wall-to-wall coverage of Olympic Games in London, little attention has been paid to what has taken place behind the scenes and just outside Olympic Park where many organizations are mobilizing to bring attention to many issues. London police arrested 182 people Friday for taking part in the monthly Critical Mass bike ride during the Olympics’ opening ceremony. Meanwhile, public outcry is growing after thousands of fans were told the Games were sold out, but prime seats reserved largely for sports federations and corporate sponsors have remained empty. Although many locals cannot afford to attend the Games, this year’s Olympics is estimated to cost British taxpayers a staggering $17 billion. Residents have been subjected to sweeping censorship laws enacted by their government at the behest of the International Olympic Committee. Meanwhile, activists are outraged that the Olympics’ long list of sponsors include Dow Chemical and BP, companies with human rights records that critics say are at odds with the Olympic ideals of global peace and goodwill. We go to London to speak with scholar and former U.S. soccer team member Jules Boykoff, who has been in England since April researching a book on dissent and the Olympics. "The Olympics provide a real opportunity for activists. We often say [at protests] that the entire world is watching, the whole world is watching. And, in fact, at the Olympics, it almost is," Boykoff says. "This is a real opportunity for activists to put their ideas in front of people who might not otherwise be able to or willing to listen to them."

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