LAUSANNE (AFP) – Dozens of Uighurs and Tibetans demonstrated outside The Olympic Museum on Wednesday (June 23) calling for a boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing.

On the annual International Olympic Day, protesters from Switzerland, France, Germany and Liechtenstein rallied in Lausanne, the Swiss city that hosts the International Olympic Committee.

“We have gathered here today in Lausanne in front of the Olympic Museum to tell the IOC that we are not okay with Beijing being the 2022 Olympics host nation again,” Tashi Shitsetsang, president of the Tibetan Youth Association in Europe, told AFP.

“Beijing has been the host nation in 2008 and the human rights situation has since then gone from bad to worse. So we… call on the international community to boycott Beijing 2022,” she said.

Protesters waved Tibetan and East Turkestan flags and held up placards reading “No rights, no Games” and “Stop genocide Games”.

Many wore traditional dress.

“The Chinese government has just recently started a multifaceted campaign to essentially erase Tibetan language, Tibetan culture and identity, and same goes for the Uighurs there in East Turkestan,” said Shitsetsang.

“We all have witnessed there’s a genocide against the Uighur people, right now.”

Beijing was selected in 2015 as the host city for the Winter Games, narrowly beating Almaty, the largest city in Kazakhstan.

China denies mistreating the Uighurs, insisting it is simply running vocational training centres in Xinjiang designed to counter extremism.

Tibetan and Uighur activists hold signs during a protest in Lausanne, Switzerland, against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. PHOTO: AFP
Tibetan and Uighur activists hold signs during a protest in Lausanne, Switzerland, against the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. PHOTO: AFP

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