Torch relay passes off peacefully in Bangkok
The Bangkok leg of the protest-hit Beijing Olympic torch relay ends on Saturday, largely free of trouble with Thai security and pro-Chinese groups outnumbering a small rally by Tibet activists.Updated: Apr 19, 2008 20:03 IST
The Bangkok leg of the protest-hit Beijing Olympic torch relay ended on Saturday, largely free of trouble with Thai security and pro-Chinese groups outnumbering a small rally by Tibet activists.
The relay began with a colourful launch in Bangkok's Chinatown, and snaked past historical landmarks in the government district, where groups of pro-Tibet and pro-Chinese protesters screamed slogans at each other.
A senior police official estimated that thousands of people turned out to see the torch, which was guarded by about 2,000 police as Thailand shielded the relay from protests that dogged early legs in Europe.
There were no arrests, police said, after the torch ended its 10-kilometre run at a plaza near the Royal Palace.
"The Olympic torch relay was successful and in accordance with the Olympiad spirit," General Yuthasak Sasiprapha, chairman of the Thai Olympic Council, said.
"I hope that the rest of the torch relay will be success, until the torch returns to Beijing."
Meanwhile, police and witnesses reported that hundreds of Chinese citizens protested in Beijing and several other cities across China against France's attitude towards Tibet and the Olympic Games.
Anti-French sentiment in China has been on the rise since the chaotic leg of the Paris Olympic torch relay on April 7, where demonstrators protested against China's recent crackdown on protests in Tibet.
The torch relay also includes stops in Malaysia, Indonesia, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Vietnam before heading to China.