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Confusion and demonstrations as Olympic flame comes to SE1

The Beijing Olympic torch relay came to the South Bank and Southwark on Sunday amid tight security and some confusion as to the route the flame would take.

Festival Pier
Spectators and protesters jostle for a glimpse of the flame at Festival Pier amid chants of 'human rights for China'
Queen Elizabeth Hall
A giant puppet on the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall
Acrobats at Festival Riverside on the South Bank
Acrobats at Festival Riverside on the South Bank
Royal Festival Hall
The terraces of the Royal Festival Hall were filled with choirs and musicians to welcome the flame to the South Bank
Zoe Salmon, Blue Peter
Blue Peter presenter Zoe Salmon borrowed a police sergeant's jacket to keep warm as she waited to carry the flame on Waterloo Bridge
Olympic torch on the South Bank
The flame is carried along the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall towards Waterloo Bridge
On Waterloo Bridge
On Waterloo Bridge
London Bridge torchbearer
A torchbearer waits to receive the flame on London Bridge
The flame is carried past the Unicorn Theatre in T
The flame is carried past the Unicorn Theatre in Tooley Street
A small but noisy anti-China demonstration outside
A small but noisy anti-China demonstration outside Devon Mansions
The torch returns to Tooley Street via Potters Fie
The torch returns to Tooley Street via Potters Fields Park
In Queen Elizabeth Street
In Queen Elizabeth Street

The flame was due to arrive at Festival Pier on the South Bank on board a police boat but spectators on the riverside walkway were left wondering whether the flame had passed by or not, such was the haste with which police escorted the Olympic entourage onto the terrace of the Queen Elizabeth Hall and Royal Festival Hall.

After a short intermission the flame continued its journey over Waterloo Bridge.

Following a tour of the City of London it returned to SE1 via London Bridge and Tooley Street.

In Tooley Street there was considerable confusion when the relay seemed to miss its intended route via Unicorn Passage and instead took an unscheduled turn via Weaver's Lane to reach City Hall.

Local Liberal Democrats – including Riverside ward councillor Eliza Mann and London Assembly candidate Caroine Pidgeon – were in Potters Fields Park with Free Tibet Campaign banners.

Returning to Tooley Street via Potters Fields Park the flame headed out to the east end via Queen Elizabeth Street and Tower Bridge.

As of 3pm police say that 35 arrests have been made for a range of public order offences.

The mood was tense throughout the torch relay as police tried to keep demonstrators at bay.

There were boos and chants of "Free Tibet" along the route.

Vauxhall MP Kate Hoey – whose constituency includes the Royal Festival Hall – said that the torch is "already tainted with the blood of innocent Tibetans".

The former sports minister accused Gordon Brown of "colluding in a propaganda stunt for China" by personally welcoming the torch at Downing Street.

• The Athens Olympic torch relay visited Southwark in June 2004.

• An inter-faith gathering with Prayers for Peace in Tibet will be held in the Tibetan Peace Garden at Geraldine Mary Harmsworth Park next Sunday (13 April).

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