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The torch's route around the world

The Olympic torch is travelling around the world in the run-up to the Beijing Games in August.

But the celebratory tour of 20 countries has been marred by protests, particularly in Europe and the US, following China's crackdown on demonstrations in Tibet last month.

Here the BBC profiles what has happened along the torch's route.

map

24 March: Olympia, Greece

The torch is lit in the birthplace of the Olympics, but demonstrations by pro-Tibet supporters disrupt the ceremony.

31 March: Beijing, China A lavish ceremony is held to welcome the torch in Tiananmen Square, presided over by Chinese President Hu Jintao.

Hu Jintao holding the torch at the ceremony
Hu Jintao presided over the welcoming ceremony in Beijing
2 April: Almaty, Kazakhstan The torch relay takes place without any notable protests.

3 April: Istanbul The relay is mainly peaceful, although several Uighur demonstrators are detained for holding protests to highlight alleged human rights abuses in the Muslim region of Xinjiang.

5 April: St Petersburg, Russia Amid heavy security, the torch makes a largely peaceful stop.

6 April: London, UK The first major disruption occurs. Pro-Tibet protesters line much of the route and at least 37 people are arrested. One demonstrator tries to snatch the torch from a TV presenter chosen to carry it.

7 April: Paris, France Large crowds of pro-Tibetan demonstrators disrupt the torch's progress, which is cut short amid the confusion. Security officials have to extinguish the torch at least three times. Chinese onlookers are particularly annoyed that a disabled Chinese athlete is jostled by a pro-Tibet activist.

9 April: San Francisco, US The authorities change the route at the last minute and a security presence ensures there is no major trouble even though protesters are out in force.

11 April: Buenos Aires, Argentina Amid high security, only minor scuffles are reported and the torch relay is not impeded.

Ex-Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq
In London, a protester tried to grab the torch from a participant
13 April: Dar es Salaam, Tanzania There are no incidents, although the itinerary has been scaled down amid security fears.

14 April: Muscat, Oman The torch is paraded through the streets for three-and-a-half hours without incident.

16 April: Islamabad, Pakistan There is not much disruption, but a very high security presence. For safety reasons, the torch relay route is confined to a sports stadium.

17 April: Delhi, India A scaled-back torch relay takes place relatively peacefully, but at least 100 pro-Tibet demonstrators are detained by the thousands of police and soldiers mobilised for the event. Some of India's many Tibetan exiles organise a peaceful alternative torch relay involving politicians and celebrities.

The Indian leg was cut short amid fears of pro-Tibet protests

19 April: Bangkok, Thailand More than 2,000 police guard the torch along its 10km (6.5 mile) route. Hundreds of anti-China protesters are faced by Beijing supporters, but there is no major disruption.

21 April: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia The torch makes its way through the rain-soaked city without much disruption, except for a scuffle between Chinese supporters and a Japanese family with a Tibetan flag.

22 April: Jakarta, Indonesia The torch is paraded around a much shortened route - a few laps round a sports stadium - watched by people with special identity cards. There are few protests and the visit brings pride to many of Indonesia's sizeable Chinese minority.

24 April: Canberra, Australia Despite large numbers of demonstrators, tight security means problems are restricted to a few minor scuffles. Australian police seal off part of the route with steel fences, and prevent more than three of China's tracksuited torch guardians from running near the flame. A large number of pro-China supporters turn out, encouraged to attend by internet campaigns.

26 April: Nagano, Japan The torch meets more protests and scuffles in the Japanese city of Nagano. With security tight along the route, two demonstrators tried to seize the torch and a third threw eggs at the flame. All were arrested. But despite these efforts, the relay passed off without serious disruption.

27 April: Seoul, South Korea Scuffles interrupt an otherwise peaceful parade in the South Korean capital. Some 8,000 security officers were deployed along the route. But some activists managed to mount a protest against China's forced repatriation of North Korean refugees and its crackdown in Tibet. They tussled with China supporters.

28 April: Pyongyang, North Korea Thousands of flag-waving North Koreans greeted the torch with universal approval through the country's capital city. China is one of North Korea's few allies, and the government has been harshly critical of anti-China rallies in other countries.

29 April: Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam On the last leg of its world tour before heading to China, the torch enjoyed a relatively peaceful journey through Vietnam's second city. Security had been stepped up after threats from activists angry at China's claim to the disputed Spratly Islands - though only a handful of people were detained at the event.


Future torch stops:

2 May - 6 August: The flame travels through China



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