San Franciscans have three favorite pastimes: sodomy, jamming up traffic with their bicycles, and protesting things with puppets. This third hobby was on full display yesterday as protesters lined the scenic Embarcardero waiting for the Olympic torch to go running by on its whirlwind tour of the globe. Throughout the world, Olympic officials have been consistently embarrassed by protesters dousing the torch, yelling about China and Tibet and human rights, and saying unkind things about America’s Banker. But by San Francisco, they’d gotten wise — and decided to fake out the protesters in the most farcical running of the Olympic torch ever!
The first torch-runner left AT&T Park and was supposed to run along the Embarcadero, get heckled by angry puppeteers and Berkeley students, and be yelled at supportively by China boosters. Instead this person ducked into a nearby warehouse, leaving bystanders dumbfounded…and two miles away, on Van Ness Avenue, runners took up a second backup torch and headed peacefully north.
Some protesters caught up to the run along its surprise route, but most stayed at Justin Herman Plaza, where a closing ceremony was planned. That ceremony was canceled in lieu of a quieter, shorter one, with just officials and the runners, at San Francisco International Airport.
Thus ended an incredibly awkward event that was all about peace, or international unity, or athletics, or something.
Torch leaves S.F. after surprise route shift [San Francisco Chronicle]