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Olympic Flame arrives in Malaysia amid tight security

Singapore, Apr 20 (UNI) The Olympic Torch today arrived in Malaysia from Bangkok as part of its Asian leg in the run up to the Beijing Games starting August 8.

The flame arrived at the KLIA International Airport of Malaysian Capital Kuala Lumpur at 0230 hrs (local time ) in a special aircraft amid tight security in view of possible protests over the Chinese crackdown in Tibet . The relay run will take place tomorrow.

Former Olympic Games medal winners and celebrities will be among 80 torch bearers who will carry the flame in a run ending at KLCC Petronas twin towers.

Olympic Council of Malaysia (OCM) deputy president Datuk Dr M Jegathesan hopes there would not be any untoward incidents during the Torch Relay.

''We have done everything possible in our capacity to ensure a smooth run and the police are also doing their best,'' news agency Bernama quoted him as saying.

The police are expected to deploy about 1,000 personnel following the demonstration of about 30 Falungong outside the Chinese embassy in Kuala Lumpur on Friday, alleging that Beijing was using the Games as a reason to persecute the group's practitioners.

China had outlawed the Falungong, which combines meditation with Buddhist-inspired teachings, as an ''evil cult'' in mid-1999, and many practitioners have faced brutal repression there in the past.

The symbol of the Beijing 2008 Games is on the Asian leg of its world tour, which has so far been largely trouble-free after embarrassing protests in Europe and the United States earlier this month.


Story first published: Sunday, April 20, 2008, 19:34 [IST]
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