Oz athletes may protest China's human rights record during Beijing Olympics

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Melbourne, May 10 : Australian athletes at the Beijing Olympics will possibly protest against China's human rights record while on the medal podiums during the games.

"It is a real possibility," Australia's Olympic chief John Coates said.

He said that the International Olympics Committee (IOC) doesn't want the competition to be prejudiced in any way by any demonstrations, but protest may happen and they will have to be dealt with depending on how serious they are.

Coates said there could be podium demonstrations in Beijing similar to the black power protest at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City by American track athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos, news.com.au reported.

Smith and Carlos raised their black-gloved fists and bowed their heads during the playing of US national anthem, and both were expelled from the games.

The AOC this week loosened its protest guidelines for athletes heading to Beijing.

It said athletes must respect the dignity of the host nation and the Olympic charter, but said they were free to express their opinions on Tibet, human rights and other issues in media interviews and online blogs.

However, athletes have been banned from placing protest signs or propaganda on clothing or equipment.

ANI

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