Torch Relay Fires Up Thousands in Japan

Riot police block flame as protesters pepper pro-China crowd
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 25, 2008 8:04 PM CDT
First torchbearer Senichi Hoshino, Japan's Olympic baseball team manager, holds the torch in Nagano, central Japan, Saturday, April 26, 2008.   (AP Photo/Itsuo Inouye)
camera-icon View 7 more images

(Newser) – A pro-China crowd peppered with protesters welcomed the Olympic torch relay in Japan today, BBC reports. Japan's national baseball manager kicked off the run in Nagano with 40 riot cops on each side, mostly blocking the view of thousands of onlookers. Cops nabbed one protester for trying to grab the torch and made two arrests, BBC reports.

Having refused the Olympics' security crew, Japan turned out 3,000 riot officers today to patrol Nagano's streets and spy from above in helicopters. Over the next few days, the torch will go to South Korea, North Korea, and then Vietnam—where a US citizen has already been expelled for allegedly plotting a protest.