Olympic torch arrives in London
Crowds of thousands cheered the Olympic torch relay through London today on the final leg of its tour around Britain, generating excitement that organisers hope will dispel lingering fears about the event's organisation and security.
The relay, which began in London's historic maritime district of Greenwich, drew a lively crowd as it passed by the myriad curry houses of east London's Brick Lane, though the ensuing traffic gridlock underlined the challenges of hosting the Games in one of the world's busiest cities.
Weeks of rain and logistical problems have prompted a slew of negative headlines in Britain's famously critical press ahead of the July 27th to August 12th Games, with organisers struggling to recruit enough private security guards, forcing them to look to the army for help.
Transport and border staff are also expected to strike soon, causing further headaches.
Still, that failed to dampen the crowd's enthusiasm.
"It might be inconvenient for two weeks, but it's such an advertisement for Britain, for London. We're so excited," said Rebecca Hurley.
Others nearby, however, were far from thrilled, highlighting the cynicism with which some in Britain see the Games.
"I'm really not interested in sport. It's hyped-up and annoying - two weeks of hell," said barwoman Sophie Turner (20).
Her friend said she was worried about bomb attacks.
More British army personnel will be drafted in to secure the games than are currently serving in Afghanistan, partly to make up for the shortfall of security guards.
The Olympic torch arrived in London on yesterday after touring scores of British cities, towns and villages, delivered by a Royal Marine Commando who abseiled from a helicopter into the Tower of London, one of the capital's main tourist attractions.
In the coming days, the torch will be carried around London's religious, political and royal landmarks, culminating in the lighting of the Olympic cauldron in east London.