Catch the flame
Visitors were encouraged to 'carry' the flame around the world
towards the Olympic Games in China by using their mobile phones,
e-mail and the internet. Participants signed onto the website and
left their names and a message on a map of the world.
March 20th 2008 a virtual Olympic torch relay was started by Play
Fair 2008 in the Netherlands, making its way East and West around
the world. Play Fair's alternative torch was taken up by more than
12,000 people in 99 countries. These thousands connected virtually
to demand that the IOC take action on workers' rights in Olympic
Play Fair's Catch the Flame initiative received support from a
variety of individuals and organizations; much of this activity
was reported on in the CTF blog on the campaign website.
In Austria former European champion swimmer Vera Lischka expressed
her support of Catch the Flame. Thousands of Austrians sent out
text messages urging the IOC to play fair.
In the US Play Fair's alternative flame met up with the official
flame. Protesters lined the streets of San Francisco, as the official
torch was quietly whisked away.
Supporters in the Philippines held their own torch relay, while
a giant workers rights Fuwa was present at a mass demonstration
in Hong Kong.
More than 12,000 people all over the world used this tool to express
their disappointment with the failure of the International Olympic
Committee to address the abhorrent working conditions faced by workers
producing Olympic-branded merchandise.
Starting in the Netherlands the campaign spread to its neighboring
countries -Spain, Belgium, Germany - it quickly spread west over
the Atlantic into the US and Canada and east into the Baltic states
and Asia -The Philippines, Thailand, Japan and Hong Kong. On May
1st the Play Fair flame succeeded in reaching China from both directions.
The book of signatures that was presented to the IOC spokespersons
at their headquarters in Lausanne also featured thousands of messages
to the IOC. All of which appeared on the Catch the Flame website
Catch the Flame activists also provided the Olympic Museum in Lausanne
- running an exhibition on China - -with materials that would offer
their visitors a more balanced view of working conditions in Olympic
supply chains in China. The activists were denied entrance.
On June 10th a delegation of activists, representing a variety
of unions, NGOs and the Play Fair 2008 organizers, visited the IOC
headquarters in Switzerland to present the IOC with the thousands
of signatures of people who took part in the Catch the Flame initiative.
A giant Olympic worker's rights mascot, a Play Fair Fuwa, presented
a book with the 12,000 signatures to representatives of the IOC.
Again, Play Fair voiced concerns about the lack of concrete follow
up to rights violations documented in the campaign's "No Medal"
report and the lack of response to PF's recommendations for a serious
approach to labor rights. Play Fair urged the IOC representatives
to take immediate action.
However, the IOC again chose not to make any commitment whatsoever
to change working conditions in Olympic supply chains. They told
the delegation that while the IOC had taken notice of Play Fair's
demands, they would not make any promises.
Get more info on the playfair 2008 olympics
campaign here >>