DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania – About 1,000 people cheered and marched with a team of 80 athletes and a cabinet minister who are participating in the Tanzania leg of the Olympic torch run.
Officials have said that they do not expect any of the disruptions that have hit other torch runs in the world.
Kenyan Nobel Peace laureate Wangari Maathai, however, pulled out of the relay in Tanzania to protest China’s human rights record.
Vice President Ali Mohamed Shein lit the Olympic torch, passing it onto cabinet minister Mohamed Seif Khatib who led the relay team from the main train station in Dar es Salaam, which is Tanzania’s commercial capital, to the city’s main stadium, about five kilometres away.
The crowd that marched behind the relay team, waved miniature Olympic flags and chanted, in the national language Kiswahili, “We are happy the torch came to Tanzania,” and “We are glad to receive it.”
Major demonstrations against China’s human rights record have followed the torch’s relay around the world on the way to Beijing for the Summer Olympic Games.