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April 22, 2008

Torch arrives in Jakarta

The Olympic flame arrived in Jakarta early on Tuesday for the Indonesian leg of its relay, which will be held under tight security and confined to the capital's main sports stadium.

The symbol of the Beijing 2008 Games arrived from Malaysia, where it had a largely trouble-free run on Monday, after protests in Europe and the United States earlier this month.

"The charter plane carrying the Olympic flame has just arrived at midnight (1700 GMT Monday)," Chinese embassy spokesman Xie Yong Hui told AFP.

Sumohadi Marsis, head of the Olympic torch organising committee in Jakarta, confirmed it had arrived in the city.

Only 5,000 people with official invitations will be allowed into the Gelora Bung Karno stadium to see the Jakarta leg of the relay, which starts at 2:00 pm (0700 GMT) on Tuesday.

Marsis said on Monday that police had informed him of rallies planned by several groups.

The torch will be carried directly to the Shangri La Hotel in central Jakarta, where it will be kept under wraps until the start of the relay.

Indonesia originally planned for the torch to be paraded through Jakarta's traffic-clogged streets. The route was changed at the request of Chinese officials after protests in other cities, Ritha Subowo, head of Indonesia's sports committee, said.

Jakarta police spokesman I Ketut Untung Yoga Anna told AFP that 1,595 police would be directly securing the Olympic flame and another 1,000 would be on standby.

On Monday in Kuala Lumpur Malaysia, a Japanese family of three and a New Zealander were detained by the police for making protests during the Olympic torch run here Monday.

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