SF prepares for Olympic torch run

April 7, 2008 7:22:46 PM PDT
All the protests, both at the Golden Gate Bridge and overseas, are being studied closely by San Francisco police. They tell us they're making some changes to the published torch route for Wednesday's relay through the city.

The torch run begins from McCovey Cove at AT&T Park at 1:00pm before ending at Justin Herman Plaza, pending any changes.

We have learned a little while agothat SF police are planning to change the route, but they are not releasing any details as well. What we do know is that police officials have been meeting all afternoon to discuss strategy. On police source told us that the disruptions in Paris and London are forcing them to rethink their plans.

In France, the protests forced security officials to cancel the final run of the Olympic relay through Paris. In London, demonstrators grabbed at the Olympic torch as runners passed by. Another protester tried to snuff the flame with a fire extinguisher.

Time after time, in both cities, the activists slipped through the tight police cordon before they were arrested and taken away. All this, despite a massive police presence. In London, 2,000 officers were deployed.

"The one big catch-22 is how many police officers are enough for a situation like this," says former San Francisco mayor and police chief Frank Jordan.

Jordan says, "no matter how you prepare it for security purposes, there's always going to be some vulnerable possibilities."

San Francisco police officials refused to talk about their strategy except to say, they'll have enough officers to handle the demonstrators. We do know that all time off has been cancelled and each district station will assign officers to the event.

There will be a heavy police presence along the six mile relay route, and just like London and Paris, the runners will be surrounded by a moving human barricade of officers on foot, bicycles and motorcycles. The CHP will provide air and ground support.

"We'll have a lot of officers deployed in cars as well as motorcycles to help insure that things run smoothly," says CHP spokesman, Trent Cross.

"Our plan was to lie in front of the torch," says one protester.

Police expect protestors to use the same kind of tactic here. The last time they used it was in March, on the anniversary of the Iraq war. As usual, the Sheriff will assist San Francisco police with the arrests. But in light of what happened in Paris and London, there will be more deputies than originally planned.

"Originally, our plan was to provide 50 or 60. Now it looks like well be providing more, but I don't have a number yet," says San Francisco County Sheriff Mike Hennessey.

The CHP says that the disruptions in Paris and London are also forcing them to rethink their plans. Again, we are learning from the San Francisco police that there will be some changes in the route. We don't know what that is and they are not releasing details just yet, but we will let you know as soon as we find out.

Olympic Torch Relay Route through San Francisco: (pending changes)

  • McCovey Cove northbound to Third Street
  • Third Street to the Embarcadero
  • The Embarcadero to Jefferson Street
  • Jefferson Street to Hyde Street
  • Hyde Street to Beach Street
  • Beach Street to Polk Street
  • Polk Street to Bay Street
  • Bay Street back to the Embarcadero
  • The Embarcadero to Justin Herman Plaza for a concluding ceremony


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