ITALY NEWS

Italy boycotts Olympic Torch

Municipalities in Rome protest Coca-Cola sponsoring of flame
(issue no. 20/2005 / November 17, 2005)

The Olympic torch run to Turin may no longer be a run but a hurdle due to heated opposition that has arisen against Coca-Cola’s sponsorship of the event.

 

Several local city officials announced that they would not allow the torch to pass through the neighbourhoods they represented if Coca-Cola was the sponsor.

 

According to protestors, the Coca-Cola Company should not be allowed to represent an event that symbolises peace and unity after the brutal treatment of union workers in plants in Columbia was revealed.

 

The Olympics organising committee, however, insisted that it would absolutely not change the course of the torchbearer, and that some sort of other compromise would have to be worked out.

 

On November 8, Rome’s mayor, Walter Veltroni, stepped in to quell the situation and met with representatives of the Coca-Cola Company. They agreed to allow an inspection of Coca-Cola’s plants in Columbia sometime after March 2006. The investigating group will comprise an international coalition that will include the Columbian union SINATRAIAL, which began the initial boycott against Coca-Cola after its members who work at Coca-Cola plants were victims of 8 murders, as well as kidnappings, death threats, and legal accusations.

 

Many other regional officials throughout Italy, including several in Tuscany, have agreed with the contestations of Rome’s officials and have also threatened to protest upon the arrival of the torch in their regions.

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