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100 Police on Rollerblades (Inline Skates) Guard Olympic Torch Relay in Paris

roadskater's picture

OK it's not too important, but I'm always fascinated by any mention of the inline skating police in Paris. This seems a not so wonderful way to catch criminals, so I guess their duty is limited to situations where they're just a helpful resource. Only in movies where the thiefs run straight down a sidewalk or road conveniently would the skates be that great for the chase. However, being included in any honor guard that includes motorbikes and firefighters is pretty nice. We're on a thin schedule of reinforcement, we skaters!

Also of note and without comment except to say "without borders" seems to be "sans frontiers" as we saw on Bill Moyers' show last night in his coverage of Congo, including Doctors Without Borders, and amazingly, the cyclists who deliver 200-pound bags of food on 3-day journeys into remote areas of the country...

Press freedom campaigners Reporters Without Borders (RSF) -- which disrupted the lighting of the flame at Olympia in Greece last month -- called on Thursday for the estimated 35,000 race participants to wear T-shirts depicting the five trademark Olympic rings as handcuffs.

Paris security ring to guard Olympic torch relay - Khaleej Times -

Paris security ring to guard Olympic torch relay
Khaleej Times, United Arab Emirates - 19 minutes ago
The layers of security will be deep, comprising 65 motorcycle outriders, 100 jogging firemen and 100 policemen on rollerblades, followed by 32 vehicles ...


roadskater's picture

Photo of Paris Roller Police at Arc de Triomphe on Brick Pavers

OK at first I thought ITN had viddy of the skops by the arch but it was just clippage of the London protest. Almost had an unofficial torchist there for a sec. I liked the comments of the official bearer afterward. Well said. Princess Anne was puttin' on the Elvis a bit with that 'do, sans widow's peak and superhero cape, but at least she didn't seem so equestrian. Perhaps that was not her hair but a hat for the rain? Nice how those police dress up in tennis ball yellow to make it easy to spot the real ones from the more ceremonial blokes. They even had some blue dudes from China protecting the flame it seems. Glad to see everyone's for non-violence...that is unless the police need to beat someone down to keep them from embarrassing the Olympics, especially with all that money about to flow that way in 2012, methinks? Was that a fire extinguisher they used on the flame protester? (My spell check says it's not protestor, but I would have thought so...ha, could be protestant) Does anyone see irony in using fire retardant spray near the eternal flame? I wonder if there's some secret reingnition device built into that torch. Was the torch made in China? Such questions I have. If those Paris Skops fall, especially like dominoes, they're going to be seriously YouTubed (yes I know I just verbed...oops I did it again, played with your nouns). Rain would make it good sport I say! Good luck to all and a non-violent fun time of it for everyone. I hope the skaters (and all beings) stay upright. Check out the vid if you like... http://itn.co.uk/news/e00d567bd14251af7fe4decfb3647ef2.html [Edit: Things have changed at that landing page. No skops photo, just a bloody protester. New video too, leaving out Princess Anne. At 44 secs you can see a roller police dude and of note are his shoulder pads built into his outfit. Looks a bit tussled but I'm not sure. Can't see the skates. Maybe they're skates with removable wheels. That Tibet flag looks like the one Arizona uses, eh?]
roadskater's picture

Torch Twice Snuffed by Police! My Illusions Gone. Extinguisher

This is interesting to me, if only me. Reports from France are that twice the torch was snuffed by those in charge and put on a bus for part of the ride.

OK. My illusions are gone. The eternal flame isn't eternal after all. I guess that has ramifications for the Bangles song, too (in the later, less Beatley jangly, more whiney piney period), but maybe they were still clever and just asked if it could be an eternal flame, and the answer is now no, I guess. Who would have thought the police would be responsible! Not me.

I would have thought that if they protected that flame with 3000 police that one goal would be to not let it go out even if it meant finding a magic bus, or an electric bus, or a loaner of the Pope mobile, or maybe a bicycle or electric scooter or electric convertible? Surely there is some mode of transport that would protect it while still lighted?

How about an electric tank of love for the torch? It could be white with different colors on the wheels to make Olympic rings! I've seen video of tanks being used in protests and they're usually pretty effective unless they meet with "dangerous unselfishness," as MLK2 put it.

One cool thing about the French is they love to go out and protest in the streets if conditions are right, and they seem to be just now. Even if I don't agree with what they're saying I love that they will go out and exercise some free speech. Me, I just sit at home and talk back to the radio. At least they go where they can be seen! Despite all the jokes about them, they do visibly, audibly protest these last few decades.

OK. Back to the torch relay in Paris. Sounds like 80 runners were to go just 27 km (huh?). The first snuffing was as a runner carried the flame, the second was reported to be after a wheelchair athlete arrived out of a tunnel with the torch. I've not seen any reports of any of the torch bearers being hurt. The CBC reporter said it would be hard to see the torch with all the security.

Here's some not so impressive video, but it does include some of the upper bodies and heads of what appear to be the Skops (roller police) in white hats (helmets).

The CBC reporter said the protesters were not trying to extinguish the flame (I guess he meant the ones he met in Paris!).

Oh yes, there was a reference in the same story to what appeared to be a fire extinguisher in the London protests, and logically enough, it was a protester wielding that rather than the police (supposedly). My bad! But it was still a pretty funny idea to me to think they might do something so ironic and ineffective. The Pink Panther Runs Rings Around You Olympically!

I hope everyone is OK, nobody gets hurt, and all protest are non-violent! Skateylove, y'all, roadskater 

roadskater's picture

Photos and Video of the Roller Police in Paris; London Video

Here are some more links since at least one person tried to see some of the other video and let me know it had changed. Interesting stuff. The guy that tried to extinguish the flame in London had on a jacket VERY similar to those the police were wearing. I'd love to hear that story! Reuters is good stuff, and BBC is good coverage too. Here's a fluff piece about the eternal flame and the backup lanterns they claim work in all conditions. OK. Whatever. Too funny about Paris having 3000 police and snuffing it at least 3 times. London... http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=79675&videoChannel=1 Protests mar Olympic relay Clashes between pro-Tibet protesters and police disrupted the London leg of the Beijing 2008 torch relay. http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7330000/newsid_7333100/7333120.s... Paris... http://www.reuters.com/news/video?videoId=79706&videoChannel=1 Olympic torch relay in Paris (glimpses of the skater police in this one) The Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay has been abandoned because of sporadic pro-Tibet protests. http://news.bbc.co.uk/player/nol/newsid_7330000/newsid_7334500/7334526.s... Photos...number 1 and 9 show the Roller police... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/in_pictures/7335043.stm No I'm not for taking the torch or snuffing it, but I'm glad people were able to protest. The London Police really seemed to handle it well mostly. The Paris Police, well, it was weird, but perhaps it was their way of (not actually but in effect) saying, we don't like what you're doing, China. The Mayor of Paris had a huge banner on the City Hall that said, I believe, something to the effect of "We support human rights throughout the world." Can't really say that roller police seem like any better idea except as general street police intended to be helpful and informative to tourists and ambassadors for their sport, ha! Probably as efficient as many of the street walking police throughout the ages, and certainly more than some.
roadskater's picture

London Skops, Heely Kids & Helmets, Paris RolliPoli, Heely Cops!

Hmm. Think I'm alone now. Tempting to say anything but no, this is Googable. Maybe I'll whistle instead and hear it echo. It's dark in this film noir black'n'white grainy underground waterway tunnel. Now what was I going to reply to myself about? Hmm. Oh yeah...self... Here's an article from the BBC web about skops that mentions previous attempts and "bobbies on blades" gone wild (not really that last bit). The article also has a photo of the roller police in Paris, and the article makes the (now) obvious (finally to me) point that because of the Paris Roll every week with thousands of participants, it makes sense that the police would have some offiskaters. I think there's a great place for skate police wherever part of the function is to be an ambassador and guiding presence, and where pursuit would likely be assisted by others after radio call. Barring that, they'd definitely need skates where the frames pop off to go off-road humping after bad boyz bad boyz whatcha gonna do. Here's the article...some good comments there... http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7335277.stm Also as an aside, I was heartened by the fact that at least one school has decided to go with the flow of enthusiasm of children for Heelys and add helmets to the equation, with a Heelys club and organized and safe fun. Cute pics of the kids working out their skills on rails in the gym! Suweeet!... http://www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080408/... Now Heely Poli might be better than RolliPoli and may just have a future, especially in the shopping malls and "hypercenters," ha! "Lovely Rita Meter Skate, Lovely Rita Meter Skate."
eebee's picture


Hey! I was listening! I was especially amused by the Princess Anne comments and looked to find the hairdo, thankyuhverymuch. However, I concluded after not finding it, that much like Kodachrome, it'd never match my imagination - especially after your hilarious description.

Still, Blakes say the darndest things and now I've got the Lovely Rita song on my mind. That's me Mum's name! She hated that song! Just like my friend Joanna hates that Joanna song. I enjoyed your rundown of the French Manifestants. Merci.

MikeB's picture

I need a skateylove translation book

Wow. Trying to follow Blake's verbage, especially for a newbie, is quite dizzying. It's like reading the Q&A on bridge in the Sunday paper - a language all it's own. I've clipped a few examples: have to spank it to rejoin; easy time on the downs; if you make them the head of a new worm; hunker in the wind; buttburger; skatemonkeys; skops; I've got so much to learn - would it be too hard or dangerous to pull a translation book out of my camelbak or take out my blackberry & go online for translations during a skate? :-)
roadskater's picture

Skenglish Skateylove

Just silly stuff I sometimes edit out, and others leave in. Some thoughts on the ones you mention... Somewhere along the way "spanky" became a word for "fast" and later, I believe, "spank" became a word for "sprint." Either I used it somewhere and it caught on or more likely I got it from someone on APRR (Atlanta Peachtree Road Rollers list). It'd be cool to find the first use of this sense of the word. The image I get is of a jockey whipping a horse to speed up. Of course the word has other connotations that I won't get into here and do not believe were as prominent when the term here was coined. The idea in context is that if you are in a pack skating at A2A or elsewhere, if the person in front of you lets a gap develop, the pack or "train" can be split, or in my head when I was writing that it became a "worm" that had been segmented and grew a new head. If this happens you have to make a quick choice and sprint to rejoin the front pack, or else you'll become the front of a new pack (in this case, worm) and take the wind in a smaller group with less mass on the downhills (the downs) and thus have less easy time hunkered down behind the person in front of you, hiding in the wind so you can all go faster. Braking in the pack splits it, making it less fast downhill, which is easy time and a good time to drink (my phrase for remembering to drink...a good habit to form to stay hydrated..."Drink on the Downs"). Buttburger is just road rash on your butt that looks vaguely like very freshly ground beef! Skatemonkeys just comes from a phrase I used to say to avoid falling..."skate like a monkey"...which to me meant bend my knees, keep my hands somewhere near them or alongside, remain flexible and keep balanced. Something like that. Skops is just skate cops. My favorite thing with words is to mash them together. Usually they're pretty predictable, unfortunately!

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