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Cheers, few jeers, for Olympic torchin Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES — The Olympic torch made the only Latin American stop of its beleaguered world tour here Friday without hitting the kind of chaotic, pro-Tibet protests that had followed it across two continents.

While protest leaders had promised "entertaining surprises" along the 8-mile torch route, the heavily guarded event encountered few disturbances, other than three water balloons lobbed at the torch as it passed the city's central cathedral.

Instead, several hundred red-jacketed China supporters waving the Olympic host country's red flag welcomed the torch along with thousands of cheering Argentines.

Eighty Argentine athletes and celebrities carried the torch through the city's downtown and port area. Some 6,000 security personnel were on hand to prevent the sort of protest that paralyzed the torch run in London and Paris and caused a major detour in San Francisco. Protesters have condemned what they call Chinese persecution of Tibetans and a rise in human rights violations in the runup to the games, which start Aug. 8.

The torch's next stop is Tanzania.

Also Friday, the president of the International Olympic Committee, Jacques Rogge, said the IOC will not intervene to pressure China on Tibet or other political issues. "This is the line we do not have to cross," he said in Beijing.

President Bush said Friday his decision to attend the Olympics will not be affected by pleas from human rights activists who want world leaders to skip the opening ceremony to protest Beijing's crackdown in Tibet. The White House has not yet said whether he will attend.

Cheers, few jeers, for Olympic torchin Buenos Aires 04/11/08 [Last modified: Thursday, October 28, 2010 10:32am]
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