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Protesters Hold Human Rights Torch Relay

Demonstrators rallied in Union Square Saturday to protest alleged human rights abuses in China ahead of the Olympic torch's arrival in San Francisco.

More than 200 people took part in the "Human Rights Torch Relay," one of several protests planned before the Olympic torch makes its only North American appearance in San Francisco on Wednesday.

Saturday's protest was part of international campaign organized by members of the Falun Gong spiritual movement that is banned in China.

The Human Rights Torch Relay is designed to draw attention to China's alleged torture and imprisonment of religious and political dissidents. It has traveled through cities around the world since it was lit in Athens in August.

Among the torchbearers at Saturday's relay was John Carlos, the bronze medal-winning sprinter known for raising his fist as a symbol of black power at the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.

The Board of Supervisors recently passed a nonbinding resolution protesting China's human rights record and calling for an investigation into China's actions in Tibet and its treatment of dissidents.

Mayor Gavin Newsom has called the opportunity to host the Olympics torch an extraordinary honor, saying the flame is about sports, not politics.

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