Olympic torch met with protests, attempts to extinguish on way into Rio

Fourth-Place Medal
The Olympic flame is paraded through Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images)
The Olympic flame is paraded through Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday. (Yasuyoshi Chiba/Getty Images)

 

As the Olympic torch made its way into Rio de Janeiro on Wednesday, protests continued to follow the procession, causing organizers to alter their route into the city that will host the 2016 Summer Games.

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Ever since its arrival in Brazil, the Olympic torch has been followed by protesters outraged about the $12 billion price tag for the Olympics as issues like education, healthcare, public transportation and even the government’s late payment of employees will plague the city long after the games are gone.

Attempts to steal the torch and put it out with a fire extinguisher were thwarted in July, and a group of protesters finally broke through to momentarily swipe the torch and snuff out the flame last week.

Over the past 24 hours, the torch’s tour through surrounding cities Itaborai, Sao Goncalo and Niteroi was disrupted, halted and even rerouted by protests, per the Associated Press and Washington Post.

“While the torch passes lit in Itaborai, jobs, health and education are put out,” protestors chanted.

Likewise, Sao Goncalo protestors blocked streets and threatened to extinguish the flame, reportedly canceling a torch ceremony in the town and forcing torchbearers to take shelter near a police station.

Riot police employed tear gas and made two arrests in attempt to quell protests at the torch’s penultimate stop in Niteroi, according to the Folha de Sao Paulo newspaper, via the Washington Post.


Brazilian brothers and Olympic medal-winning sailors Torben and Lars Grael carried the torch from Niteroi by boat across Guanabara Bay on Wednesday morning, passing the flame to Rio de Janeiro Mayor Eduardo Paes in the host city, where — you guessed it — the procession was met with protests.

The torch’s procession began on April 21 in Ancient Olympia, Greece, and more than 12,000 torchbearers have carried the Olympic flame across 329 Brazilian cities since May 3. If all goes according to plan, the torch will be toured through Rio de Janeiro over the next two days until making its way into Maracana Stadium for opening ceremony on Friday, when Brazilian soccer star Pele will presumably light the Olympic cauldron. Of course, little has gone according to plan thus far.

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Ben Rohrbach is a contributor for Ball Don’t Lie and Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at rohrbach_ben@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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