Monday, April 07, 2008

Olympic torch debacle

The mayor of Paris has canceled the last section of the Olympic torch relay following protests in the city, the London Times reported. Mayor Bertrand Delanoe announced the cancellation after Green Party members of the city's council hung a Tibetan flag over the City Hall's facade.

Security officials snuffed out the Olympic torch and carried it through Paris in the safety of a bus at least five times Monday as the chaotic protests against China's human rights record turned the relay into a chaotic series of stops and starts.

Despite massive security, at least two activists got within almost an arm's length of the flame before they were grabbed by police. A protester threw water at the torch but failed to extinguish it and was taken away. Officers tackled numerous protesters and carried some away.

Yesterday, the Olympic torch was met with widespread protests and scuffles between demonstrators and police Sunday as thousands turned out to protest Olympic host China's human rights record and its recent clampdown on Tibet.

Some demonstrators threw themselves at the torch, and at least one tried to snatch it away. Another tried to put out the flame with a fire extinguisher. They were quickly pushed back and cuffed by Metropolitan Police, which said its officers made 36 arrests on a variety of charges.

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