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London Protesters Taken into Custody by Local Police

Aired December 20, 2000 - 2:23 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

JOIE CHEN, CNN ANCHOR: All right, we want to take you back to London, now. There's a development in that dramatic protest under way at the millennium dome area, right at the big London Eye -- that big Ferris wheel hanging over London.

CNN's Richard Blystone joins us on the line now -- Richard.

RICHARD BLYSTONE, CNN SR. EUROPEAN CORRESPONDENT: It's a bizarre sight, Joie. The London skyline all lit up for Christmas and right in front of me at the base of the London Eye, the huge Ferris wheel that dominates the skyline, one by one, protesters who have been about 4 1/2 hours ago took over two, we're told, of the pods on this Ferris wheel, are being led away, one by one. There are pauses between groups leaving. It appears that negotiations are still going on at one of the pods. But just only minutes ago -- or seconds ago, really, one by one protesters were taken off by helmeted policeman, raised fists in the air.

The protest is about the treatment of prisoners in Turkish prisons. Most of the protesters, we gather, are of the Kurdish minority. Some are Turkish supporters and some are from other minorities. but they are trying to focus world attention on an incident this week in a Turkish prison where some prisoners burned to death. These people claim that they were killed by the Turkish authorities. The Turks say it was a suicide protest by the prisoners.

It's been going on, as I say, for a little over 4 1/2 hours. The police were able to evacuate other pods which hold about a dozen people each in this very popular tourist attraction. But now it does seem to be coming to an end and a silent night is about again to descend on London --Joie.

CHEN: Richard, just to confirm here, no other tourists in the area; no one else is hurt or affected by this?

BLYSTONE: None that we have had any news of at all. The police said that they were able to get the ordinary people away.

CHEN: Great. All right. CNN's Richard Blystone reporting to us on the telephone line from London.

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