Melbourne, Apr.21 : Hundreds of federal police, including half of the Australian Capital Territory's contingent, will guard the Olympic torch during the Australian relay leg in Canberra this week.
The beefed-up security has been prompted by protests during relay legs in London and Paris and could double the cost of staging the event to almost two million dollars, reports news.com.au.
Security officials have begun erecting barricades around the 16km route in Canberra in anticipation of protests against China's crackdown on pro-independence activists in Tibet.
Organisers expect the protest "hot spots" will be at the beginning and end of the route, as well as at Parliament House.
ACT Chief Police Officer Michael Phelan said about half of the ACT force, as well as additional federal police from interstate, would take part in the security exercise.
Police would not reveal how many officers are involved, but the ACT force is believed to number between 700 and 1000.
He said he was confident police would secure the flame in the face of possible protests.
The torch arrives in Canberra on Wednesday morning and will be run along a shortened route on Thursday, beginning on the shore of Lake Burley Griffin near the High Court and the National Library. It will then head towards Anzac Parade and the Australian War Memorial. It will also pass by Parliament House and within 200m of the Chinese embassy before returning to the lake.
Organisers say the route could be changed at the last minute if protests get out of control.