(AP) – Officials have mobilized for protests as runners carry the Olympic torch through San Francisco this afternoon. But supporters of China’s role as Olympics host are also turning out. They’ve gathered along the city’s waterfront.
Law enforcement agencies have put up metal barricades along the six-mile route. They have readied running shoes, bicycles and motorcycles for officers who will shadow the runners chosen for the relay.
Local officials say they support a diversity of viewpoints. But they decided to ramp up security after protests during the torch’s stops in London and Paris and a demonstration Monday in which banners were hung from the Golden Gate Bridge.
Runners are expected to face people protesting China’s grip on Tibet and its support for the government of Myanmar and Sudan.
San Francisco was chosen to host the relay in part because of its large Chinese-American population. Many residents have spoken out to ask for calm and express their pride that China was chosen to host the summer games.
(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)