Demonstrators waving Tibetan flags greeted the Olympic flame as it arrived in Japan on Friday, with security forces bracing for the latest potentially chaotic round of the torch relay.
At stops in
In Nagano, central Japan, the venue for the next leg of the torch relay on Saturday, media said the torch would be guarded by up to 4,000 police, with riot police and another 100 regular officers set to shield torch-bearers in two rows, shrouding the runners from sight.
They will be joined by two Chinese “flame attendants”, although
After flying into
TV footage later showed a bus said to be carrying the torch headed for
More than 10,000 Chinese Australians staged the biggest pro-Beijing rally of the torch relay in
Preparations for the route in
The main building of the iconic temple was later vandalised, with white circles spray-painted onto wooden columns and a door.
The three corporate sponsors for the Japanese leg of the relay also decided against sending vehicles to escort the 18.7 km (12 mile) run, with some worried about getting in the way of heavy security.
Local shop owners planned to clear streets of flower pots, while some residents, complaining that the spirit of the event had been spoilt, said they would keep children at home.
Pro-Tibet groups were expected to hold a prayer service before the relay on Saturday at the historic Zenkoji temple that withdrew from the event, reading the names of those who died in the recent unrest in
They will then congregate for a peaceful protest near the relay, which will pass through shopping streets and an ice-skating rink used during the 1998 Winter Games.
Media said 2,000 Chinese students from across
“We are not going to protect the flame. We are going to welcome the flame,” one of the students told Asahi TV.
The relay will kick off with Senichi Hoshino, the popular manager of
The torch heads for its next stop
The European Parliament has urged EU leaders to boycott the opening ceremony at the Games unless
EU Trade Commissioner Peter Mandelson spoke out against boycott calls and said they served only to “deepen differences, create massive resentment and make dialogue much harder”.
In Washington, Deputy U.S. Secretary of State John Negroponte called on
Date created : 2008-04-25