The Olympic torch procession for this year's Beijing Olympics went through London today marred by pro-Tibet protests. Dozens of protesters were arrested as the Olympic torch procession travelled the 31 miles through the giant city, from Wembley in North London to Greenwich in east London.

BBC presenter Konnie Huq, who once presented children's TV programme "Blue Peter", was one of those who carried the torch. A protester who managed to run to to her tried to grab the torch off her, to extinguish it, until he was dragged away by police.

Another protester was grabbed by cops as he tried to extinguish the Olympic torch with a fire extinguisher.

Several world leaders have already declared that they will boycott the opening ceremny of the Beijing Olympics in August. However, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown will attend as London is hosting the next Olympics in 2012....

Anti China protesters try to wrestle Olympic torch off BBC presenter Konnie Huq during violent clashes in London

6th April 2008
Daily Mail

The Olympic torch procession descended into farce today as hundreds of pro-Tibet protesters brought chaos to the streets of London.

Police battled to contain the demonstrators, who at one point attempted to wrestle the iconic object from the hands of TV star Konnie Huq.

The former Blue Peter presenter looked stunned as a man broke through her official escort, and then watched in bemused horror as police piled in to drag him away.

Organisers eventually decided to commandeer a red London bus to get the torch away from persistent protests along Fleet Street.

So far 30 arrests have been made.

Struggle: BBC presenter Konnie Huq wrestles with a protester (in light brown jacket) as he attempts to extinguish the torch

Held: The pro-Tibet campaigner is pinned on the floor by officers

Demonstrators made their presence known as soon as the torch arrived at Wembley on a double-decker bus.

A number of arrests were made after protesters tried to board the bus but there was no disruption to the relay, the Metropolitan Police said.

Two activists were then taken away by police after attempting to put out the torch with fire extinguishers.

Martin Wyness and Ashley Darby were waiting with their equipment on the corner of Holland Park Avenue and Ladbroke Grove.

In a statement, the pair said the relay was a propaganda campaign by China to cover its "appalling human rights record".

"Like many people in the UK we feel that China has no right parading the Olympic torch through London," they said.

"Our protest is not directed at the Chinese people whatsoever but instead at the brutal Chinese regime that rules them."

Scrum: Officers drag another protester away from the scene

As the torch was carried along Bayswater Road, surrounded by runners and police on bicycles and motorcycles, several protesters ran towards the flame.

They were held back by police lining the route and at least two were seen being detained and handcuffed.

One man struggled with three officers after rushing at the torch bearer shouting: "Free Tibet".

The crowd booed the Olympic vehicles, including a bus carrying many of the torch bearers.

Ian Cheshire, chief executive of B&Q, who took the flame as it passed the last section of protesters, said: "It was fun but it was slightly surreal" before re-boarding the bus.

Members of the public gathered on the opposite side of the road outside Kensington Gardens to watch the spectacle and many of them offered their support to the protesters.

Chaos: There was more trouble as some demonstrators set off fire extinguishers along the route

Scotland Yard confirmed that two people have been arrested in connection with an incident involving former Blue Peter presenter Konnie Huq as she carried the Olympic relay torch.

Ms Huq was carrying the flame from Lancaster Road to Blenheim Crescent in north-west London when protesters rushed forward and grappled with her.

More than 2,000 Metropolitan Police officers have been mobilised today to protect the torch and the 80 torch bearers making their way through London.

The Olympic torch has been a magnet for human rights protesters since it was lit last week.

A police spokesman said: "There have been a number of arrests in connection with the relay today - they are all for public order offences and two of these relate to the incident involving Ms Huq."

Protesters ignored the snow and freezing weather to chant and wave banners as the torch made its way through London.

Uniformed officers squeezed crowds back as Sir Clive Woodward carried the torch from the British Museum to Bloomsbury Street in central London.

A smiling Sir Clive, surrounded by Chinese flame attendants who were running in convoy with security staff ignored the loud chants for a boycott and China to repair its human rights record.

Amid chaotic scenes outside Downing Street former Olympic pentathlon champion Denise Lewis took the flame. She ran gingerly along the road surrounded by police.

Several demonstrators attempted to run towards the torch, some trying to jump the barriers which lined the pavement.

Peaceful protests: Demonstrators want more action against China's actions in Tibet

Many were bundled to the floor by police, who were out on foot, on bicycles, and mounted on horseback. The crowd reacted noisily, booing and whistling and shouting their protests.

At least a thousand protestors gathered opposite Downing Street, where the torch was greeted by Gordon Brown.

Among a sea of flags, banners and balloons, chants calling for a free Tibet sounded the length of Whitehall.

The veterans in exile and members of the Free Tibet movement crammed the pavement, with some vying for position on walls and stairways.

Police were out in force lining the streets in front of the demonstration.

Brother David, of the Order of the Pilgrims Squires, said: "Both the Christian church and the Buddhists say that you cannot get rid of hatred by using hatred.

"It's been over 50 years of winter in Tibet but if the world is prepared to do something, perhaps it will be Tibet's spring this year."

Shantiprabha, 56, from Oxford, who has been a practising Buddhist Monk for the past 30 years, said he was attending the demonstration in solidarity with not just the Tibetan people but also the Chinese, who have suffered at the hands of their government.

"The government of China is getting a lot of positive PR from the Games but we need to look at what they are doing to their own people and they need to earn some creditability in that respect."

Protesters and the media followed the torch towards Parliament Square as police surrounded the bearer en masse. England cricketer Kevin Pietersen was given the flame and headed towards Westminster Bridge - walking rather than running because of the chaotic scenes.

Camera crews, photographers, members of the public and outraged protesters were bundled out of the way as police frantically tried to clear a path and struggled to maintain control of the situation.

A small contingent of pro-China supporters were also trying to make their voices heard today, waving Chinese and Olympic flags and calling for "one China".

Vincent Sun, 24, from Shanghai, who is working in the UK as a service engineer, said: "I'm here to support the Beijing Olympic Games and the most important thing in the world is to have one China with Tibet as one part of China."

He said it was important that as many people as possible came to see the Olympics and added that "almost 100 per cent" of people in China supported the Games.

Protest: Police move in to detain a man who had tried to extinguish the Olympic torch