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Beijing allows protests but you need a permit
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Protests and rallies may be allowed during the Olympic Games in Beijing, but State permission must be granted and gatherings are restricted to a handful of parks in the capital.

A senior security official with the Beijing Olympic Organizing Committee announced the details at a press conference yesterday.

The zones, similar to initiatives at the 2004 Athens Olympics, were to allow protesters to express opinions freely, said Liu Shaowu, director of the security department of the committee.

So far three parks: the World Park in Fengtai District, the Purple Bamboo Park in Haidian District and the Ritan Park in Chaoyang District - have been set aside for use by demonstrators, Sina.com said yesterday.

Demonstrators must first apply for approval and protests would only be allowed in the selected areas so that traffic, the environment and public order in Games areas would not be disrupted, Liu said.

He said some people had been complaining about the capital's tightened security. However, for a city like Beijing which had never held such a large-scale event, a safe Olympic Games was the top priority, he said.

"Some of the measures we have taken are the same as other host countries," Liu said. "For instance, some host nations also tightened visa regulations before the Games.

"The Olympic Games is a large-scale sports event that we've never experienced. With huge numbers of people coming to China, international terrorist forces are seeking chances. Therefore, we have to intensify the security efforts."

Beijing is confident of dealing with any kind of security threat and will host a safe and peaceful Olympics, Liu said.

"All work related to Olympic security is in full swing and security personnel and equipment are all in place," he said.

Liu said Beijing had deployed nearly 110,000 personnel, including policemen, army troops and volunteers, and mobilized the whole society to ensure the security of the Games.

(Shanghai Daily July 24, 2008)

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