Surprisingly Ineffectual: 100 French Cops on Rollerblades
The Olympic torch relay rang into a few snags during its Paris leg yesterday, which is a gentle way of saying the torch went out 4 or 5 times. It did get re-lit pretty quickly, mind you, which would probably be acceptable if it were the regular sort of dungeon-illuminating torch. But seeing as it's less a means of shedding light on goblin droppings, and more an internationally recognized symbol of hope, getting doused 5 times is kind of a big deal. Throughout the route protesters mobbed the relay, and rushed the torch bearer on several occasions in attempts to seize or douse the torch itself. Although none of the protesters succeeded, at several points on the route the police were forced to put the torch out so it could be carried past the protests in a vehicle - which at least in my mind, kind of defeats the purpose of a torch relay. A dozen angry Chinese men and an athlete driving around Paris on a bus with a non-flaming stick doesn't really raise the Olympic spirits. I've talked about the Olympic protests before and could probably run a regular feature here recounting the various indignities the Olympic torch is bound to suffer over the coming months. Which would grow quickly monotonous were it not for little details like this: During this disastrous torch relay, French officials had arranged for 100 cops on roller blades to serve as an honor guard for the torch bearer.