China further bolsters security ahead of Olympic torch arrival
(dpa) - China has further tightened security on the eve of Monday's arrival of the Olympic flame for the Beijing Games and a short ceremony at Tiananmen Square.
Chinese organizers appear to fear protests in connection with the crushing of unrest in Tibet and other human rights issues.
The local Olympic organizing committee (BOCOG) cited less space because of "security reasons" when it excluded 24 foreign media organizations, including Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa, from the ceremony despite confirmed accreditations for the event.
Chinese officials have also been tight-lipped about the timetable for the Tiananmen ceremony. The flame arrives Monday aboard an Air China plane from Greece and will be brought downtown by car.
Exiled Tibetans have called for protests during the torch relay. Other human rights issues such as China's role in the Sudanese region of Darfur could also lead to protests.
The lighting of the Olympic flame in ancient Olympia last Monday saw protests from Tibetan demonstrators and human rights activists. Around a dozen activists were led away by police on Sunday when protesting in Athens around the handover ceremony in Panathinaikon Stadium.
The torch relay ahead of the August 8 lighting of the Olympic Cauldron at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Games will cover 137,000 kilometres and is the longest in Olympic history.
It will cover all continents, starting on Tuesday with a first leg to Almaty, Kazakhstan. Major protests could take place when the relay passes through London on April 6. The flame returns to China on May 4 and then tours the country - including Tibet and the summit of Mt Everest.