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Olympic flame ends chaotic Paris journey

Soon after the torch set off from the Eiffel Tower, protests force the organisers to extinguish the torch, and place it on a bus for safety.

world Updated: Apr 08, 2008 03:15 IST

The Beijing Olympic flame ended its chaotic relay journey through Paris Monday, marred by citywide protests against China's crackdown in Tibet that forced the torchbearers to take refuge in a bus.

The flame arrived in a bus escorted by around 30 police officers for a ceremony at the Charlety Stadium after its journey by foot was cut short half way to its final destination.

Moments after the Olympic torch set off from the Eiffel Tower, protests forced the organisers to extinguish the torch, and place the flame on an accompanying bus for safety.

The torchbearers were forced on and off the bus at least four times, until organisers finally cut short the relay, skipping a planned ceremony at Paris city hall.

The Olympic torch was lit again for a brief ceremony outside the stadium, in the presence of French swimming champion Christine Caron, and extinguished one last time at around 6 pm (1600 GMT).

The Olympic flame itself, transported in a safe lantern, was taken away by several members of the Beijing Olympics organising committee.

From Paris the flame leaves on Monday night for the Americas, with stops planned in San Francisco on Wednesday and Buenos Aires on Friday, on the latest leg of a worldwide tour from Greece to Beijing.