Olympic Flame in Paris...

'Spectacular' protests await Olympic flame in Paris

The Olympic flame wraps up its high-security tour of Europe in Paris later tonight, with campaigners planning a day of "spectacular" protests over China's human rights record.

The flame has arrived in France after a chaotic stop in London, where police battled to keep pro-Tibet protesters away from the flame and made 37 arrests.

In Paris, police plan to secure a perimeter of some 200 metres around the torch as it is carried in relay by 80 runners on a 28-kilometre route from the Eiffel Tower to a stadium in the south of the capital.

The torchbearers will be protected by a cordon of 65 motorcycle police, 100 firemen, another 100 police on roller blades and nearly 50 vehicles with more than 200 riot police.

Media freedom group Reporters Without Borders (RSF), which disrupted the lighting of the flame last month in Athens, has promised to stage "symbolic, spectacular" actions, but carried out "with respect for the Games."

Pro-Tibetan activists are also to hold a day of protests opposite the Eiffel Tower from 10:00 am (local time), but not directly on the flame's route.

The Socialist Mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoe, plans to unfurl a giant banner over city hall in defence of human rights.

The flame's Paris leg comes days after President Nicolas Sarkozy upped the pressure over China's crackdown in Tibet, refusing to rule out a boycott of the August 8 Olympic opening ceremony.

From Paris the flame leaves for the Americas, with stops in San Francisco on Wednesday and Buenos Aires on Friday, on the latest leg of a worldwide tour from Greece to Beijing.

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