Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Olympic flame goes dark in the City of Light

PARIS — Despite the presence of thousands of police, demonstrators turned the Paris leg of the Olympic torch relay into another painful, public-relations disaster, as the tide of protest forced organizers to snuff out the flame repeatedly, hustle it on and off buses and finally cancel the final leg of the 27-kilometre tour through the city.

French police were out in force yesterday but the demonstrators proved more nimble, unfurling black banners from the Eiffel Tower and Notre Dame cathedral that condemned China's human-rights record by depicting the Olympic rings as handcuffs. The protests came one day after demonstrators successfully disrupted the procession in London.

Hundreds of Tibetan exiles and French activists booed the torch as it went past, a few chained themselves to railings and some lay in the road in an attempt to block the relay.

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