Indonesia to cut short Olympic torch relay route

Other News Materials 10 April 2008 12:10 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - Alarmed by recent disruptions, the organizer of the Jakarta Olympic torch relay has decided to cut short its route in the Indonesian capital, a local media report said Thursday.

Initially, the Olympic flame was scheduled to travel from Chinatown in West Jakarta, past the National Moument (Monas) in the centre of the capital, and end up in the Bung Karno Sports Complex in Senayan, Central Jakarta, said Sumohadi Marsis, chief of the organizing committee of the Jakarta relay.

Instead, Marsis said, the relay, slated for April 22, would "only be carried out in the vicinity of the Bung Karno Sports Complex" in Senayan.

"We are watching the progress in some countries and although we have not received any information about possible mass rallies here, we are preparing for the worst-case scenario," Marsis was quoted as saying by the Jakarta Post.

The Indonesian police will deploy more than 1,500 officers to ensure security of the torch relay, national police spokesman Anton Bachrul Alam said.

Pro-Tibet campaigners have shadowed the flame from the moment it was lit in Greece on March 24, starting its 20-country, 137,000-kilometre journey to Beijing for the August Olympic Games.

The relay route was altered in San Francisco due to protests by activists seeking to highlight many controversies surrounding the Chinese government, including its controversial rule of Tibet and its human rights record.

Eighty Indonesian torch-bearers, including officials, athletes and celebrities, are scheduled to take turns carrying the torch, 80 metres each.