Olympic Torch Begins Shorter S.F. Route

From Associated Press – The Olympic torch relay got under way in San Francisco – and the flame promptly vanished. With thousands of protesters gathered to condemn China’s human rights policies, protesters had lined the streets Wednesday waiting for the torch relay to begin.

As the ceremony began, the first torchbearer took the Olympic flame from a lantern brought to the stage and held it aloft before running into a warehouse. A motorcycle escort departed, but the torchbearer was nowhere in sight.

Buses and vans later left the warehouse, but it was unclear where the Olympic flame would reappear.

Shortly before it began, San Francisco officials cut the original six-mile route nearly in half. The flame’s only North American stop has drawn thousands of demonstrators gathered to praise and condemn China during the flame’s journey to Beijing.

Authorities did not offer an immediate explanation for the change, but city officials had warned they might truncate the route at the last minute for security reasons.

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