SAN FRANCISCO – Three people protesting China’s human rights record and the impending arrival of the Olympic torch climbed up the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday and tied the Tibetan flag and two banners to its cables.
The banners read “One World One Dream. Free Tibet” and “Free Tibet 08.”
The protesters wore helmets and harnesses as they made their way up the cables running next to the south tower of the famed span. The climb had the group suspended about 150 feet above traffic.
Reached by cell phone as he dangled from the bridge, demonstrator Laurel Sutherlin said he was worried that the torch’s planned route through Tibet would lead to more arrests and Chinese officials would use force to stifle dissent.
“The leaders of China have said they’ll maintain order at all costs, and we know what that means – bloodshed and violent oppression,” he said. “If the IOC allows the torch to proceed into Tibet they’ll have blood on their hands.”
The protesters later climbed down. In all, seven were charged with conspiracy and causing a public nuisance, with the three climbers facing additional charges of trespassing.