(AP) - Argentina is billing Friday's Olympic torch run as an easygoing street fiesta, set to a tango beat.
But officials are worried enough about anti-China protests to mobilize thousands of police officers after torch runs in other cities caused chaos, and protesters warned of a Buenos Aires "surprise."
The Olympic flame arrived Thursday under heavy security from San Francisco, where police cut the torch's route in half and sent the flame far away from demonstrators, disappointing many who had gathered to see it.
Argentine authorities are deploying 1,300 federal police, 1,500 naval police and some 3,000 traffic police and volunteers - enough to ensure security "without going to the extreme that nobody will be able to see the torch," said government sports official Francisco Irarrazabal.
Irarrazabal said at the airport that the jetliner carrying the torch and a Chinese delegation had arrived Thursday afternoon as expected, and that the flame, kept in a "safety lantern," was being whisked to an undisclosed overnight location for safekeeping.
Security concerns were so tight that news agency photographers called to cover the torch's arrival on the runway at Ezeiza International Airport were told just before the arrival that their photo opportunity had been canceled. No explanation was given, and the torch remained out of public view.
Activists were already preparing protests. Jorge Carcavallo unfurled a giant banner along the torch route, near the city's iconic Obelisk, reading "Free Tibet." He said demonstrators were coordinating with leaders of the San Francisco protests for "surprise actions" and vowed that Friday would be "a hot day."
"A lot of people are going to join the protests," Carcavallo said, adding that while there are no plans to snatch the torch or try to snuff out the flame, "there will be very entertaining surprises all along the route,"
Falun Gong member Axel Borgia said the spiritual movement banned by China would protest as well, but he wouldn't give details.
"The Olympic Games and crimes against humanity cannot coexist in China," Borgia said.
City officials put on a brave face, predicting that Buenos Aires would manage to avoid the confrontations that marred ceremonies in Paris, London and San Francisco.
"What has happened in other cities doesn't have to happen in Buenos Aires," said official Marcos Pena. "We believe this is going to be a great sports fiesta, a family fiesta."
Others betrayed their fears.
"We are waiting for the torch with anxiety," Irarrazabal said. "May it come here ... but may it also leave."
Mayor Mauricio Macri said the opening ceremony would involve a tango troupe, followed by a nearly three-hour relay along 8 1/2 miles of streets. Of 80 runners, soccer's Diego Maradona has been invited to be the first, and tennis' Gabriela Sabatini has confirmed she'll be the last.
The route begins at a River Plate canal district where yachts bob at anchor, goes past the pink presidential palace and down one of the world's widest avenues - Boulevard 9 de Julio - and then winds through leafy parks to an equestrian club.
The route offers ample opportunity for street protests, and Argentines are masters of the art: Noisy demonstrations with people banging pots and pans occurred daily during a 2002 economic meltdown and have continued ever since.
But the torch relay has prompted surprisingly little buzz here, especially given that it's the first visit of an Olympic torch to Argentina. Stories on the previous stops have been buried deep inside most newspapers, and newscasts have made little mention of the troubles elsewhere along the route.
Ana Letzner, 66, sold cigarettes from her shop in a Buenos Aires suburb and said she couldn't understand the fuss.
"I don't get it," she scoffed. "Thousands of police just to run after the torch."