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13 Feb, 2010 07:56

Mass protests in Vancouver skew Olympic torch relay route

The Olympic torch has finally arrived in Vancouver, the venue for the Olympic Winter Games, after a 106-day cross-Canada relay. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger carried the traditional symbol of the Games.

Crowds gathered at the Vancouver’s waterfront Stanley Park to meet the celebrity. Schwarzenegger handed the torch to the chairman of London 2012 Summer Olympics, Sebastian Coe.

But as the flame passed through Vancouver, organizers were forced to change the route at the last minute to avoid the street protests. Around 150 anti-Games protestors crowded the Downtown Eastside area. A dozen mounted police stopped the placard-carrying protesters from surging ahead and confronting the relay. The convoy had to take alternative route and continued.

In total, thousands of people marched across Vancouver on the opening day of the Games. And as Dave Zirin from The Nation Magazine says, protestors are finding wide support among the local public.

“An astonishing poll number shows 40% of the residents of British Columbia support the protestors. It really says something about this collision that has taken place between the global recession and the Games,” he told RT.