Global Athletes group calls for IOC to ban protests at Olympic Games | Daily News


 

Global Athletes group calls for IOC to ban protests at Olympic Games

A push is on to allow athletes to protest against racism at next year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games.
A push is on to allow athletes to protest against racism at next year's rescheduled Tokyo Olympic Games.

The International Olympic Committee's ban on protests — including kneeling in support of anti-racism — is a breach of human rights, according to the Global Athlete group.

The group has called on Olympic and Paralympic officials to move immediately to abolish the rule, opening up the ability for athletes to make genuine acts of protest without penalty.

Rule 50 of the Olympic Charter states that "no kind of demonstration or political, religious or racial propaganda is permitted in any Olympic sites, venues or other areas".

Athletes breaking the rules are subject to discipline on a case-by-case basis and the IOC issued guidelines in January clarifying that banned protests included taking a knee.

Tommie Smith, centre, and John Carlos stare downward while extending gloved hands skyward US athletes Tommie Smith (C) and John Carlos were sent home from the Mexico City Olympics for their use of the black power salute.(AP)

"The IOC and IPC's (International Paralympic Committee) recent statement that athletes who 'take a knee' … will face bans is a clear breach of human rights," Global Athlete, an international athlete-led movement that aims to inspire change in world sport, said in a statement.

"Athletes around the globe were awestruck with this statement and demanded change."

The most famous demonstration at an Olympic Games is the human rights protest on the medal podium by American sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos after the 200 meters event at Mexico City in 1968.

The pair bowed their heads and raised their fists in the air during the playing of the US national anthem after Smith won the final. IOC president Avery Brundage ordered the two athletes to be expelled from the Games and sent home.

Several major sporting organizations have moved to allow protests at their events following the death last month of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died in Minneapolis after a white policeman knelt on his neck.

The IOC said last week athletes would decide how best to support the core Olympic values "in a dignified way" as calls to change regulations restricting protests at Olympic Games grew louder.

- Agencies


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