Given the hype and build up and worry surrounding the North American leg of the Olympic torch run yesterday, from what I saw among the throngs posed at the finish line, I think the city and spectators succeeded in giving both spectacle and ceremony, as well as forum for all to express their opinions. Check out these scenes from all along the relay route, and see if you agree.
There was however, a certain amount of dodge and duck, a heavy dose of subterfuge with the torch route, but perhaps the dash of confusion kept tempers at bay and diffused tensions just enough to keep the discourse alive. The closing ceremony was changed to a smaller affair at the airport. The late stage switch left some disappointed and angry.
I saw kids and parents, people taking breaks from work, proud elderly Chinese out with their families, young passionate advocates — a festival atmosphere in the midst of heated demonstrations. I think it was the best balance they could have possibly struck given the circumstances. Do you think the city made the right decision to keep the torch mostly out of sight?
The beauty of this event was that you had pro-Tibet, pro-Burma, pro-Olympics/China, Save Darfur, etc. protestors all there, all stating their cause without police interference (at the Ferry Building—there were incidents along the actual route), without incident, and without violence. This was free speech as it should be, and it was fantastic.
Nicely and perfectly said.