April 17, 2008
About 1000 protesters kicked off a rival torch relay in New Delhi today [17 April 2007], hours before the Olympic flame was set to be taken on a short and high security jog in the city.
Tibetans led by Buddhist monks and backed by local supporters set off from the mausoleum of Mahatma Gandhi, the champion of India's non-violent independence movement, carrying a torch they said symbolised a free Tibet.
"Free Tibet," the protesters shouted as the marchers set off from the city centre, witnesses said.
India's capital has been barricaded and flooded with thousands of police and soldiers for the official relay of the Beijing Olympic torch, on the most sensitive part of its protest-hit global journey.
Indian officials have been forced to shorten the official relay route in the capital, limiting it to a 2.3-kilometre jog along the Raj Path - an avenue running from the presidential palace to India Gate.
India is home to more than 100,000 Tibetan refugees, including exiled spiritual leader the Dalai Lama and radical youth groups.