Conflict & Justice

Protests mar Olympic torch lighting

Protesters have stationed themselves outside the City Hall and the Chinese Consulate for weeks. They're unlikely to make the local government change its mind about hosting the torch relay on April 9th, but the police has been working to dampen the effects of the protesters and won't announce the exact route of the torch. This Human Rights Watch expert says that tactic restricts free expression. The Mayor argues the measure is necessary to protect the public. Protests will be allowed in free-speech zones but it's not clear if large demonstrations will be allowed outside those zones. The ACLU believes this may violate the 1st Amendment. A committee hearing on the subject last week drew hundreds of visitors and four hours of comments, much of it from Tibetan Americans in the region.