Thursday, April 10, 2008

Olympic torch's chaotic visit to U.S. ends without formal farewell

The Olympic torch played hide and seek with thousands of demonstrators and spectators crowding the city's waterfront Wednesday before being spirited away without even a formal goodbye on its symbolic stop in the United States.

After its parade was rerouted and shortened to prevent disruptions by massive crowds of anti-China protesters, the planned closing ceremony at the waterfront was canceled and moved to San Francisco International Airport. The flame was put directly on a plane and was not displayed.

The last-minute changes to the route and the site of the closing ceremony were made amid security concerns following chaotic protests in London and Paris of China's human rights record in Tibet and elsewhere, but they effectively prevented many spectators who wanted to see the flame from witnessing the historic moment.

As it made its way through the streets of San Francisco, the flame traveled in switchbacks and left the crowds confused and waiting for a parade that never arrived. Protesters also hurriedly changed plans and chased the rerouted flame.

Mayor Gavin Newsom told The Associated Press that the well-choreographed switch of the site of the closing ceremony was prompted by the size and behavior of the crowds massing outside AT&T Park, where the opening ceremony took place. - espn

China needs to stop its human rights abuses, but also the games should be an event that brings the world together. The US, for that matter, should stop killing people in Iraq, should stop imprisoning men, women and children for years without charges, should stop domestic spying, should stop torture, etc.

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