Campaigners pursue call for Munich silence at opening (REUTERS) By Keith Weir LONDON, ENGLAND 07/25/12 1:18pm EDT)
Reuters News Service
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(Reuters) - U.S. politicians and relatives of 11 Israeli team members
killed at the 1972 Munich Olympics refused to be deterred on
Wednesday in their campaign for a minute´s silence at the opening
ceremony in London to honor the dead.
The issue is proving a diplomatic headache for International Olympic
Committee (IOC) President Jacques Rogge, who hoped to end the debate
with a surprise tribute to the victims in the Olympic village in
London on Monday.
Campaigners have said the gesture was not adequate and it was time
for the IOC to honor the victims in Friday´s opening ceremony,
expected to be watched by more than a billion people around the globe.
IOC claims that it wanted to keep put of politics rang hollow, they
said, accusing it of pandering to Israel´s enemies in the Middle East.
"They (the IOC) are afraid of offending, frankly, some of the Arab
nations," U.S. Congressman Eliot Engel told reporters on a conference
U.S. President Barack Obama and Republican rival Mitt Romney have
both backed calls for a moment of silence.
Ankie Spitzer, whose husband Andrei was killed in Munich, was
planning to meet Rogge in London on Wednesday to hand over a petition
signed by more than 100,00 people.
Steve Gold, who helped to lead the petition, said there could be a
spontaneous demonstration among the 60,000 people in the Olympic
Stadium on Friday if Rogge did not change his mind.
The Munich massacre was the worst attack on the Olympic Games.
Palestinian guerrillas from the Black September group broke into the
Israeli section of the Olympic village by scaling a perimeter fence
with weapons concealed in sports bags.
Demanding the release of Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli jails,
they initially killed two hostages. Within 24 hours, another nine
Israelis, five Palestinians and a German policeman were dead after a
standoff and subsequent botched rescue effort.
Security has been transformed in the ensuing four decades and more
than 17,000 British troops will help to guard the London Games. (©
Thomson Reuters 2012. 07/25/12) (Editing by Sonya Hepinstall)
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