The Nobel Peace Prize laureate, Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu, from South Africa, joined thousands at a pro-Tibet vigil in San Francisco yesterday, before the start of the Olympic torch relay. Many church organisations were among the human rights groups and celebrities, including actor Richard Gere, planning to demonstrate during the torch relay, over China's rule in Tibet, Beijing's suppression of religious freedom, compulsory abortions and sterilizations and policies toward Darfur and Burma. Speaking at a news conference held before the protest rally Archbishop Tutu said he did not want to call for a boycott of the Olympics but he said he thought world leaders should not attend the opening ceremony. "We're not at a moment where we are calling for a boycott of the games because the athletes have spent a lot of time preparing, and you don't want to penalise them unnecessarily. But I am certainly calling on heads of state not to attend the opening ceremony, to register their disapproval, their disgust really," he said.
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