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The Olympic Torch is Coming! But Where?

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March 28, 2008

The Olympic Torch is set to touch down in San Francisco, its only North American stop, on April 9. Citing security concerns, the city has yet to release details of the path the torch will take through the city by the Bay.

People who want to cheer are anxious to know where to be, but equally important, people who want to protest China’s hosting of this year’s games won’t have enough time to plan:

Michael Risher, a lawyer with the American Civil Liberties Union, which has asked the city to hurry up and publicize its plans for the April 9 event, said his concern was that fans of the Games, due to begin in Beijing on Aug. 8, would be tipped off while protesters would be left wondering.

The ACLU knows a little bit about protests: we’ve sued the Office of Presidential Advance for shielding President Bush from those with dissenting opinions of his policies. In January, we furthered this litigation by suing the City of Albuquerque for prohibiting anti-Bush protestors from being seen at a Presidential fundraiser, while giving Bush supporters prime, media-friendly positions.

As Slate points out, the Olympics and all of its surrounding events are the perfect opportunity for protest. Protest is as American as the stars and stripes and apple pie. A city with a population as ethnically, culturally and politically diverse as San Francisco should encourage it, not stifle it.