City: Torch route not secret, nor will access be restricted

The route that the Olympic torch will take through The City is not completely in the dark anymore.

Mayor Gavin Newsom’s office said Wednesday that San Francisco is not keeping the route secret and protesters will not be restricted. The announcement was in response to a public records request filed March 13 by the American Civil Liberties Union.

The torch will be in San Francisco on April 9. Activists have accused The City of planning to restrict their right to protest and also of keeping the route of the torch a secret.

“The City has no plans to restrict protesters to certain areas,” said the public records response authored by Newsom’s Deputy Communications Director Joe Arellano.

The opening ceremony is “tentatively set” for McCovey Cove and the closing ceremony at Justin Herman Plaza.

The relay route is still being finalized, he said, but “will be along major thoroughfares in the area of the waterfront.”

The ACLU responded well to The City’s action.

“The Mayor’s letter is a very positive development and makes clear that San Francisco will respect the rights to the right to freedom of expression through peaceful protest,” ACLU staff attorney Michael Risher said in a press release.

Today, the Board of Supervisors Rules Committee will vote on a resolution that would urge the city representative who will officially receive the torch to make publicly known that it is received “with alarm and protest” over China’s human rights record. It also urges Newsom “to provide full access” to those protesting the torch. If voted out of committee, the full board could vote Tuesday to adopt it.

jsabatini@examiner.com

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