Olympic Torch arrives in Bangkok

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Bangkok, Apr 18: After a peaceful run along Rajpath in India, the Olympic flame reached the Thai capital early today with authorities warning potential trouble-makers of dire consequences.

The Chinese charter flight carrying the flame landed in Bangkok's former Don Muang international airport at 0240 hours local time. The flame will begin its symbolic run through the Thai capital in the city's famous China town Yaowarat area and end on the Royal Plaza near Thai Parliament. Thai Foreign Minister Noppadon Pattama denied media reports that foreign nationals staging protests during Olympic torch's run through Bangkok tomorrow afternoon would have their visas cancelled. Mr Noppadon said people had the right to protest so long as they did not break the law. ''But if they cause trouble the government has the right to take legal action against them,'' he added.

A coalition of activist groups have announced they will stage protests tomorrow.

A prominent Thai environmental activist chosen as one of the six torch-bearers had already withdrawn from the run in protest.

''China wanted to host the Olympic Games to show the world that it is an increasingly important player in the international community.

''But to do that, it must begin to adhere to international norms on democracy and human rights,'' said the English language daily 'Bangkok Post' in its lead editorial today titled 'Torch lights up China's shame'.

''The Olympic Games are a symbol of world unity, but the spirit of the Games doesn't simply mean holding hands and looking past grave human rights abuses. It also means standing up for the values that we, as a human race, hold dear,'' it added.


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