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Dozens arrested during Olympic torch protest -

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LISA MILLAR: The chaotic scenes in London overnight as protesters targeted the Olympic torch will
no doubt will be worrying Australian organisers.

At times, the London leg of the relay resembled a running brawl. Pro-Tibetan activists repeatedly
grabbed at the torch and its bearers. At one stage a fire extinguisher was used to try to douse the
flame. The torch even made an unscheduled move onto a bus to avoid the melee.

At least 35 people were arrested, the security response was swift and tough and the images
broadcast to the world did little to spread the Olympic messages of peace and cooperation.

The Olympic torch will be taken on a day-long relay through Canberra on April 24.

Organisers are bracing for disruptions. There have already been suggestions the protests will only
grow louder and more violent the longer the torch is on the road.

Karen Barlow reports.

(sounds of protesters shouting)

KAREN BARLOW: Carrying the Olympic flame through London proved a running battle overnight.

(sound of fire extinguisher)

PROTESTER: I tried to put the flame out with a fire extinguisher because China has no right to do
what it's doing.

KAREN BARLOW: Sports people and celebrities holding the flame aloft were surrounded by English
security and Chinese Olympic officials as they ran. But often it wasn't enough.

MAN: Oh, someone, as I speak is trying to grab the torch from Konnie Huq.

KAREN BARLOW: The Olympic torch has a long way to go before it arrives at the Beijing Olympic
cauldron on the opening ceremony night on August 8th.

On April 23 it is due to arrive in Canberra, and torch relay organisers there have been grimly
watching the overnight London images.

TED QUINLAN: Well quite clearly they do cause us some concern.

KAREN BARLOW: Ted Quinlan is the co-chairman of the Canberra Relay Taskforce.

TED QUINLAN: We have always anticipated that there would be some level of protest associated with
the torch relay in Canberra. But now we're seeing, I guess, a heightened level and we hope and
trust that the level that occurred in London doesn't repeat itself across the globe. But if it
does, then we have to take appropriate measures to make sure that the event here runs well, it is
not disrupted.

KAREN BARLOW: The pro-Tibetan and Falun Gong protesters say they are trying to highlight China's
human rights record and say the Beijing Games organisers have been well warned about their plans.

But, Beijing Olympic officials are accusing the activists of sabotaging the torch relay and defying
the Olympic spirit.

It is reported that torch relay organisers, including Chinese officials, did discuss "pulling out"
of the day-long London relay after just a few hours.

One of the London torch bearers, English marathon runner, Paula Radcliffe says the activists are
misguided.

PAULA RADCLIFFE: It is an important issue which I think people's awareness should be raised too,
but I think this is the wrong way, honestly. This is about sport and this is about the Olympics and
it's not about where the Olympics are going, it's about that torch.

KAREN BARLOW: Canberra security is constantly under review but Ted Quinlan from the Canberra Relay
Taskforce says he has every confidence that the Australian Federal Police will be able to cope on
the day.

TED QUINLAN: Occasionally there will be individuals that feel impassioned or want to pursue the
limelight, whatever, that we have to take account of. We have to really plan for the lowest common
denominator.

KAREN BARLOW: Are the plans for the Canberra leg of the torch relay set in stone or is there a
possibility of changing it, considering there maybe some disruption?

TED QUINLAN: We've already made some changes to our proposed route given a heightened awareness of
security. So, we're actually working with the Australia Federal Police on the route that will A,
best showcase Canberra, but B, will be able to be maintained at the highest level of security that
is possible.

KAREN BARLOW: So there maybe some secret element that will become apparent on the day?

TED QUINLAN: We would like to avoid that.

KAREN BARLOW: There are prominent Australians involved in the Canberra leg of the torch relay, but
there's also school students. Is there concern for them being young and possibly more vulnerable if
there is any disruption?

TED QUINLAN: The youngest participants are teenagers, quite healthy young people, and there's also
some participants of quite advanced years involved. The security will be there for everybody. We
have to be concerned for every individual and I don't think there's a likelihood that an individual
is going to be attacked in themselves, it just maybe that somebody makes an attempt to wrest the
torch from them or something like that. But there will be sufficient security to avoid that.

KAREN BARLOW: Pro-Tibetan groups are adamant that their Canberra plans are peaceful.

Paul Bourke is the executive officer of the Australian Tibet Council.

PAUL BOURKE: Well, we have always said we were intending to use the torch in Canberra as
opportunity to highlight the Tibet issues. The Australia Tibet Council will be definitely planning
peaceful protests. But as we've seen in London, the behaviour, the actions of individual Tibet
supporters and Tibetans is unpredictable. It's clearly an issue of great concern for them.

KAREN BARLOW: The Olympic flame is now in Paris where it'll stay for a day before being flown to
San Francisco.

LISA MILLAR: Karen Barlow.