Concerns about the London riots returning for the 2012 Olympics have been growing recently. As the rioters make appearances in court this week, fears have intensified that the riots will recur. The London riots, a serious period of unrest from Aug. 6 through Aug. 11, resulted in 3,000 people being arrested and the destruction of 200 million pounds of property. However, London is not the first city to potentially face riots during the Olympic Games.
Mexico City Olympic Games
The 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City faced riots ten days before the competitions started. The police clashed with protesters in the Plaza de Tres Culturas, and an estimated 250 people were killed. Named the Tlatelolco massacre, the majority of the protesters were students participating in a movement for democracy. More arrests followed, but the Olympics were not affected, and the Summer Games started on time.
Seoul Olympic Games
Riots began a year before the 1988 Summer Games in Seoul, South Korea. In 1987, students were joined by Buddhist monks and other participants as they rioted in the streets. The protesters clashed violently with police and were often tear gassed. Both the government and the military made multiple attempts to stop the movement for democracy. However, Seoul went on to host the 1988 Summer Olympics.
Athens Olympic Games
The 2004 Olympic Games in Athens, Greece, were also marred by violence and riots. Anti-Olympic protesters were joined by various groups of workers on strike. Hotel workers, ambulance drivers and paramedics participated in multiple strikes and protests over pay and benefits. In addition, anti-Olympic movement groups protested the games because of commercialization and doping. Although some of the riots began months before the Olympics arrived in Athens, there were instances of ongoing unrest during the Summer Games.
Vancouver Olympic Games
There were multiple protests and riots by anti-Olympic groups during the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver, Canada. The protests actually intensified during the games with the inclusion of property damage, vandalism and confrontations with police. Police arrested some of the participants while trying to take control of the crowds and blamed anarchists for the violence. The games continued with a large police presence.
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