Olympic torch relay begins in Kuala Lumpur

(dpa) - The Beijing Olympic torch relay kicked off Monday in Malaysia's capital Kuala Lumpur amid tight security as 80 athletes and local personalities were chosen to take part in the 16.5-kilometre run.

The relay, which bears the Olympic flame, kicked off at the historic Independence Square in the heart of Kuala Lumpur and is expected to end some four hours later at the Petronas Twin Towers.

Some 1,000 police officers have been deployed to ensure no anti-Chinese protest mars the relay, while more special action officers will be forming a cordon around the torchbearers throughout the route.

"We don't foresee any problems in the torch relay today," a police spokesman said.

However, he confirmed that police questioned one Chinese monk and two Japanese nationals for attempting to cause disturbances before the torch relay was due to begin.

Mainly-Muslim Malaysia has pledged to avoid any form of disruption to the torch relay, saying that the sporting event should not be clouded over by politics.

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