The odyssey of the Olympic torch toward Beijing is shaping up as the unanticipated big political story of the year, with even the French contemplating a boycott of the opening ceremonies. Check out this passage from a CNN report on the difficulties of the torch’s passage through Paris:
Paris police have conceived a security plan to keep the torch in a safe "bubble," during its 17-mile (28 km) journey, with a multi-layered protective force to surround the torch as it moves along the route. French torchbearers will be encircled by several hundred officers, some in riot police vehicles and on motorcycles, others on rollerblades and on foot. Chinese torch escorts will immediately surround the torchbearer, with Paris police on rollerblades moving around them. French firefighters in jogging shoes will encircle the officers on rollerblades while motorcycle police will form the outer layer of security.
Things could get interesting in Beijing this summer. My guess is at least one winning athlete will unfurl a "Free Tibet" banner during a medal awards ceremony, and there will be tug-of-wars between Chinese authorities and international media when the Chinese abruptly cut off the satellite connection.
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