Olympic Torch Arrives in San Francisco

April 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
The Olympic torch arrived this morning, after its visit to Paris was greeted with a series of protests. A spokesman says one runner who'd planned to carry the flame through San Francisco has dropped out due to safety concerns.The Olympic torch arrived before dawn at San Francisco's airport for what promises to be a tumultuous visit.

Already several anti-China protestors have been arrested. Three protestors were taken into custody after scaling San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge to make a dramatic statement about China's violent crackdown in Tibet.

Laurel Sutherland spoke by phone to reporters from his perch on the bridge: "Any risk we've taken is minor in comparison to the risk people in Tibet take all the time."

Police are preparing for as many as 100-thousand protestors to fill the streets Wednesday when the torch makes its six-mile run. Given the chaos along the torch route in Paris and in London, they have shortened the route and will avoid landmarks like the Golden Gate Bridge. "We will have a lot of officers deployed and cars as well as motorcycles to help make sure things run smoothly," said Trent Cross with the Highway Patrol.

Police will surround the 80 torch bearers as they make their run. Still, Helen Zia, a Chinese journalist and torchbearer is apprehensive: "I think we in San Francisco can really try to set a different example but personally I'm a little afraid."

China is condemning the protests, blaming supporters of the Dalai Lama. They vow the torch run will continue, even as the International Olympic Committee considers whether to shorten the route.


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