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May 08

Massive crowds swamp torch in Shenzhen

Written by Buxi on Thursday, May 8th, 2008 at 7:20 pm
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The torch has successfully completed the run in Shenzhen, although there are stories of difficulties navigating the crowds. The torch might have even been extinguished and transported via bus along part of the route… something similar to what happened in Paris, but for precisely the opposite reason. Reportedly 8 million people were on the streets for the torch.

Here are early pictures:

UPDATE: There were also unsubstantiated rumors that the torch had been extinguished by “Chinese protesters” near Shenzhen’s “Window to the World” park. We will just have to wait for the video evidence promised by the Asia Sentinel blog. The video is now up, and it does not come close to delivering on earlier promises. It shows only an enthusiastic crowd of Chinese chanting “Go China”, surrounding someone carrying an extinguished torch on the way to a bus; considering the setting, this someone had probably already completed his torch run.

This eye-witness on Tianya reports a very different scene.

After I got back, I heard that the direct broadcast of the torch relay from Shenzhen was interrupted for about 20 minutes when it was in front of “Window to the World”. I was on the front lines at the time, and for those who weren’t there, you can’t possibly understand how passionate the people were. My buddy next to me screamed his voice hoarse! I’m linking some pictures below.

The torch is here! I was too excited by this point, I couldn’t stop screaming “Go China!”. By the time I reacted and remembered my camera, the torch was almost past.

The back of the torch handler MM, and the media truck.

But the people behind me who couldn’t see the torch began to push, and I was forced off the sidewalk in 2 seconds!!!! I was getting pissed!

It was probably around this point that the broadcast was cut off. The people were so passionate; I’m a big guy from Shandong, and I couldn’t even maintain my balance.

I think the torch MM was getting on the truck at this point.

A sea of red.

This picture’s taken when the people pushed through the armed police’s “defense line”. (Ed: The people in yellow are part of the torch convoy.)

This guy in front of me got a little too close. Armed police comrades…

This and the previous few pictures are all from after I was pushed by the crowd into the convoy, and the “little universe began to explode” (Ed: cultural reference to Japanese manga series Saint Seiya, meaning passions going into over-drive). I was in the road behind the torch bearer, but the armed police comrades were too big and too strong and I couldn’t get any closer.

Things were getting a little too chaotic! I think this is when the torch-carrier actually got into the vehicle.

The rest of the posting shows the crowd slowly dissipating, as everyone went on their own way.

The only people disappointed by the Shenzhen torch relay (other than those hoping for protests) are the crowds by Shenzhen University and local technology development parks. Possibly to make up for time, or possibly due to the huge size of the crowds, the torch was carried past these points by bus.


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2 Responses to “Massive crowds swamp torch in Shenzhen”

  1. Bing Ma Yong Says:

    the route and street of the torch need be carefully planned to avoid the overwhelmingly massive crowd .
    history has showed tragedy have happened because of the crowd like this both in China and other places around the world.

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