Protests expected at 2010 Games torch relay

Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:08pm EDT
Email This Article |
Share This Article
  • Facebook
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
| Print This Article | Single Page
[-] Text [+]

By Allan Dowd

VANCOUVER, British Columbia (Reuters) - Some protests are likely during the torch run leading up to next year's Winter Olympics in Vancouver, but that will not take away from it success, organizers said on Friday.

Some anti-Olympics and Native rights activists have warned they may disrupt the torch relay that will begin October 30, in Victoria, British Columbia, and cover 45,000 km (29,250 miles) as it crisscrosses Canada.

"I think you would have to be naive to think that we aren't going to, from time to time along the route, see people express themselves. That's a Canadian tradition," said John Furlong, the Vancouver Organizing Committee's chief executive.

Furlong said some 50,000 people are expected to watch the torch run start in Victoria, and he predicted it will be an overwhelming success.

"People need to respect that this is a time for celebration, for families and children," he said.

Unlike the torch relay for the Beijing Summer Olympics, which was an international event and became the focus of repeated protests, organizers of the 2010 Games decided to limit the run to just Canada.

But the route will also take the relay through more than 100 aboriginal communities, which have historically suffered the country's worst rates poverty and social problems.

One of the most vocal anti-Olympic groups has charged the entire 2010 Games are being held on "stolen Native land" -- a claim dismissed by aboriginal groups that are part of the Olympic organizing effort.   Continued...