Tibet crackdown sparks Olympic torch security

March 21st, 2008 - 7:35 pm ICT by admin  

London, March 21 (IANS) Thousands of police officers, backed by air and marine support and mounted police, will protect the Olympic torch from anti-Chinese protesters when it arrives in London next month, a newspaper reported Friday. The 1 million pound ($2 million)-security operation has been mobilised for the torch relay on April 6 because authorities fear disruptions by human rights campaigners on Tibet, Myanmar and Darfur, the Times reported.

Campaigners blame China for rights violations in all three places and security experts fear the British capital will be the first flashpoint for protests along the torch’s 130-day global tour from Athens to Beijing for the August Olympics Games.

The Olympic flame will be carried 85,000 miles (136,000 km) by 21,880 torchbearers through 135 cities.

In London, the torch is expected to draw huge crowds along its 31-mile route from Wembley Stadium in the northwest to the O2 Stadium in the south - the two main venues for the London 2012 Olympics.

Rower Steve Redgrave, violinist Vanessa Mae, cricketer Kevin Pietersen and broadcaster Trevor Mcdonald will be among 60 torchbearers who will run past such famous London sights as the prime minister’s office at 10, Downing Street, and Nelson’s Column.

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