The U.S. leg of the Olympic torch relay took place Wednesday in San Francisco amid heavy security, as police swat teams prevented a repeat of the chaotic demonstrations that have followed the flame's journey to Beijing.
As the event began Wednesday, San Francisco authorities cut the original relay route nearly in half and changed it, to prevent human rights demonstrations like those that occurred as the torch traveled through London and Paris recently. At one point after the event started, the first torch runner disappeared into a warehouse with the torch and it was not clear what was happening.
The torch later reappeared on a San Francisco street. San Francisco is the flame's only North American stop and home to one of the largest Chinese- American communities in the United States.
The city has drawn thousands of demonstrators gathered to praise and condemn China during the flame's trek to Beijing. On Tuesday, several hundred activists marched in the city to condemn China's recent crackdown on anti-government protests in Tibet.