Melbourne, Apr.15 : The Australian Government has made it quite clear that it will not allow Chinese security personnel to escort the Olympic torch during its relay in Australia at the end of the month.
Countering Australian IOC member Kevan Gosper's claims that Chinese paramilitary forces will protect the Olympic torch in Canberra, the federal police and government described it as a wrong assumption.
According to Fox Sports, Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has clearly stated that the Canberra leg of the Beijing Olympic torch relay would be protected by domestic security and that the Chinese tracksuit-clad torch "attendants" described as thugs by a British politician would have no part.
Gosper told ABC Radio today that the Chinese security forces would trail the Canberra relay in a bus and would be called on to help with security if expected protests got too unruly.
A spokesman for Attorney-General Robert McClelland said today there was no way Chinese officials would be involved in security.
"The Australian and ACT governments, police and the Australian Olympic Committee have repeatedly said our authorities would be in charge of torch security," the spokesman said.
"It remains the case that the Chinese torch attendants will have no security or law enforcement duties," he added.
The operation commander for ACT police, Shane Connelly, said: "Mr Gosper has got this wrong."
"The Chinese torch attendants have a practical responsibility in relation to the servicing of the flame - they have no responsibility in terms of security," Connolly said.
"This has been made clear to the Chinese authorities... under no circumstances, no matter what occurs, will be they be called upon to perform a security function," he added.
Canberra is the only Australian city to host a torch relay leg.
Story first published: Tuesday, April 15, 2008, 12:17 [IST]
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