SF Mayor Takes Heat for Torch Dodge

Rerouting Olympic flame relay enrages duped protesters
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 10, 2008 7:28 AM CDT
Two pro-Tibet protesters are arrested by San Francisco police near Justin Herman Plaza during demonstrations held during the Beijing Olympic torch relay in San Francisco, Wednesday, April 9, 2008.    (AP Photo/Darryl Bush)
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(Newser) – The San Francisco leg of the Olympic torch relay avoided some of the chaos that plagued London and Paris, but pro-Tibetan activists were fuming that Mayor Gavin Newsom rerouted the flame's path at the last minute to dodge protesters. "He did it so China can report they had a great torch run," one demonstrator complained to the San Francisco Chronicle.

The city police chief said she had no choice but to reroute the torch to avoid scenes of "helmet-clad officers with batons pushing back protesters." Some protesters caught up with the diverted Olympic flame as the day went on, shouting "Shame on China!" as it passed. The Bay Area was the torch's only American stop; it now heads to Argentina.