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Exclusive Video of the San Francisco Olympic Torch Relay

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?

I loved the impressions ami_z shared commenting on Liberty's beautiful pictures:

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.

Join The Conversation
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
Really, likety? What about Jessie Owens' historic victory in the German Olympics under the gaze of Hitler - he turned his back when Owens, a black man, was awarded the gold medal above all those Aryan superstars. And the saddest part is, when Owens returned to America, he was threatened with lynchings and still had to use the Colored entrances as restaurants. I'd say the Olympics have a long history of being political, by choice or not. And I hope your remark about how the SFPD reacted LEGALLY rather than rioted up and broke those protesters rights by doing what police tend to do during rallies and violently breaking it up isn't serious.
lickety-split lickety-split 9 years
standing in the streets of san francisco screaming at people carrying the olympic torch isn't going to free tibet. and just what culture is that representative of amyway? i felt it was extremely disrespectful of not only the city of san francisco but the runners and the people who went to see the torch make history. the olympics should be free of politics. these are young athletes that have worked their whole lives to compete with the best in the world. the olympics is their forum, not these protesters. the world is not their stage. how would you feel if these people showed up in the movie theater, at the restaurant where you were eating, in your child school? it's not appropriate. and if something like this happened anywhere like in say texas or san diego i think the outcome would have been very different. those protesters were cut a wide swath by the sfpd.
common-terry common-terry 9 years
we need less borders, not more. free the human race! of course, first we need to wake up...
minaminamina minaminamina 9 years
This was an interesting video. I remember back when the Iraq war started, I was in San Fran for the Interrupt This Empire rally that shut down the entire city for days. It was the most beautiful expression of free speech and civil disobedience I had ever seen in my life - I myself borrowed a friends bike to be on the mass ride to block off the Golden Gate bridge. Even though the pro-Chinese/pro-Tibetan protesters clashed, it's absolutely amazing to witness the most American thing you can do - protest.
Angelica Angelica 9 years
That was well put ami_z! Citizen, this is a great video. Thanks for the window into the happenings on the street.
melyshka melyshka 9 years
i have to say i was disappointed in the way the city handled the event. i was at the 3rd street bridge, around a lot of passionate people on both sides of the issue. i was just watching the events happen, and wanted to see the torch pass by. i also saw a female police officer very publicly hand out riot gear to police, after which they lined the crowds which was a scary police state type sighting. but overall, i'm glad that everyone was safe, which is definitely the of the utmost importance. and, if anything, the fact that nothing violent happened and the news is continuing to cover the disappointment of the protesters is good news for them since their message does not get diluted through the potential disruption that may have occurred yesterday.
ami_z ami_z 9 years
I'm quite flattered that my comments were quoted, thank you, Citizen! I really felt it necessary to say that because I think that the gatherings at the Ferry Building are being denigrated (especially in the Chinese press) which is wrong! People claim that the protests are an affront to the Olympic spirit, well, an exchange of cultures and ideas is very much in the Olympic spirit. The Olympics may be about athletics and excellence, but they are also an international event. Peaceful expression about the politics of such an event should never be vilified.
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