Divergent crowd shares anxiety at torch relay

Chinese and Tibetan flags blended into flashes of red, yellow, white and blue as the collective din of disagreement and tension hummed in the ears of spectators along the Olympic torch’s proposed route.

With pro-Tibetan freedom protesters turning out in the thousands, China supporters turned out in at least equal numbers — a primary reason The City was chosen to host the torch was its large Chinese population — with the tension palpable as the two sides stood side by side, waiting for a torch that never came.

On the Embarcadero, representatives from both sides left their sanctioned areas and shouted at each other nose to nose with no visible police presence to separate them.

Near Pier 39, about 200 Chinese college students chanting “Go Olympics” in Chinese mobbed a car carrying two people waving Tibetan flags.

Lei Liu, a 28-year-old Chinese citizen and Stanford University student, waved a Chinese flag near McCovey Cove and asked observers to look at the strides the country has made in development and its peace-loving people.

“Don’t just look at our downside. We’ve had great developments. We’ve changed a lot,” Liu said.

Lynnea Johnson, who traveled from Palo Alto to see the torch, said she did not see a violent situation, just arguments. She said she was astonished listening to pro-China representatives at how “complete the justification” was for actions in Tibet.

dsmith@examiner.com

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

BART police data shows racial disparities in enforcement across the board

Black BART riders are overwhelmingly ticketed and cited more by BART police… Continue reading

Mayor Breed may appear in Matrix 4

Mayor London Breed may soon enter the Matrix. Multiple sources confirmed to… Continue reading

Lawmaker introduces legislation to kick off creation of Bay Bridge bus lane

Assemblymember Rob Bonta’ s placeholder bill would create ‘sustainable, efficient’ public transit

Student walkout at Aptos highlights concerns about bullying

More than 100 students walked out of Aptos Middle School Friday morning… Continue reading

Thousands of orchids on display at Golden Gate Park

Nearly 30,000 orchids filled the County Fair building at Golden Gate Park… Continue reading

Most Read