Olympic Torch Run Re-Route

April 9, 2008 6:54:43 PM PDT
The original torch route was supposed to follow San Francisco's embarcadero along the water front.But the torch disappeared for about a-half hour, showing up later in the middle of the city, where runners then headed toward the Golden Gate Bridge.

Hundreds of people waited here at Justin Herman Plaza all day for the torch to arrive and to watch the closing ceremonies. Security was incredibly tight at this spot and across the city, with police officers, sheriff's deputies, and state and federal authorities all trying to control the crowds. But despite those efforts, organizers had to go with a back-up plan that kept the flame far away from this stage.

A sea of people flooded the streets along the San Francisco Bay waiting for the Olympic torch to wind its way through the city. But as shouting matches broke out between Pro-China and Pro-Tibetan freedom crowds, the route was changed, leaving thousands of people confused.

Heather Atkins, San Francisco: "Everyone's like oh, it's here, it's there. People walking all over the city, we don't really know."

Danielle Dumas, San Francisco: "It just got way too hectic, so we were like where's the torch? Where did it go? We were trying to ask the police and they don't know what's going on and it's changing every five minutes, it's ridiculous."

Danielle Dumas and her mother drove from Sacramento to experience a piece of history, but they ended up getting a geography lesson instead as they wandered the streets hoping to catch a glimpse of the flame.

Dani Donnachie: "Oh lots of confusion. We asked the police and they said it might be on a boat, and then we asked the guard security and they said go down that street and someone else said it was on Van Ness, someone else said it was on Pine."

The torch finally emerged on Van Ness Avenue, about a mile inland from its expected location. But the change in plans didn't stop those protesting against China's human rights record and crackdown in Tibet from spreading their message.

Tanzen Gatong, Pro-Tibet Protestor: "This is our opportunity to tell the world what's happening in our country, to speak up for our 6 million brothers and sisters back home that are being tortured every day and oppressed for the last 60 years."

But those who support having the Olympics in China say the chaos does not take away from the country's pride in hosting the summer games.

Lily Yang, San Francisco: "The Olympics is our dream, its Chinese people's dream."

We've learned the torch is being taken to San Francisco International Airport, and the closing ceremony will actually be held there before it's flown to its next stop in Argentina.


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