Torch route still subject to change

Security concerns that have played out in London and Paris could result in last-minute changes to the Olympic torch route, Mayor Gavin Newsom said Monday.

Security in the European cities scuffled with protesters along the torch route; in Paris, where the torch was extinguished several times, the relay route was cut short.

“All security is being evaluated and the conditions that occurred in the last few days just underscore that security remains the principle concern we have,” Newsom said. “If someone wants to breach this and put someone in harm’s way, they should reconsider.”

When the torch route was made public last week, the mayor called its path a “constant, never-ending evolution” as law enforcement officials weigh security issues during the run-up to the 6-mile event.

Newsom said changes could come even as the torch run was under way.

“There are contingency plans during the actual event,” he said.

Nathan Ballard, a spokesman for the mayor, said the mayor met with Chinese Ambassador Zhou Wenzhong to discuss security measures for the relay.

Adjustments during the running of the relay could include shortening the route, although there are currently no plans to change where the torch relay begins — McCovey Cove — and ends — Justin Herman Plaza.

The San Francisco Police Department will also receive support from local, state and federal agencies during the torch relay. Sgt. Neville Gittens said hundreds of police officers have been assigned to the event.

“Our security plan can be changed based on events that occur and information we receive,” Gittens said.

Event spokesman David Perry said he would attend security meetings Monday night, hours before the Olympic torch was set to arrive at 4 a.m. today at San Francisco International Airport.

dsmith@examiner.com

Bay City News contributed to this report.

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