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Controversial Olympic torch relay begins in Tanzania

Other News Materials 13 April 2008 17:35 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - The Tanzanian leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay kicked off Sunday, but officials insisted protests that have dogged the flame in other stops are unlikely in the seaside city.
The torch arrived in the East African nation late Saturday amid high security. Sunday's 25 kilometre run has been reduced to only five kilometres.
Dozens of torch bearers are expected to carry the flame, including United Nations Under Secretary General Anna Tibaijuka, the head of the UN's housing agency Habitat, who is Tanzanian.
"It is a great honour and privilege for Tanzania to host this torch. Don't worry, all preparations are all set," Dar es Salaam mayor Adam Kimbisa said after the torch's arrival.
While Kenyan Nobel Peace Laureate Wangari Maathai declined to be a torch bearer because of China's human rights record, no protests are expected in the city, Tanzania's commercial capital.
Tanzania, like many other African nations, has benefited from China's scramble for the continent's resources and has seen new roads and rail lines built by Chinese companies.
Protests against China's role in Tibet and Sudan's Darfur region have hounded the torch relay since it began last month, but its last stop in Argentina's capital Buenos Aires was calmer.
Tanzania is the only African nation that will host the torch on its journey back to Beijing.

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