PARIS — Protesters halted the Olympic torch relay in Paris Monday, forcing officials to extinguish the flame at least three times and carry the torch inside a bus for safety, despite a massive deployment of 3,000 police across the heart of the city.
The heavy security presence transformed the torch relay from a joyous celebration of the Olympics into a tense confrontation between police and demonstrators protesting China’s crackdown on Tibet last month and its human rights record.
By late afternoon Paris time, with the relay hours behind schedule and facing continuous stops by protesters, officials gave up on finding a way to restart the procession. They said the torch would be carried by bus for the rest of the route, from the National Assembly building to the Stade de France sports complex, a distance of about 3.5 miles.
The decision was made by Olympic organizers and the Chinese Embassy, police in Paris said
This is a first! French protesters putting out fires! The Olympics should not have gone to China.