Olympics planners and San Francisco authorities made many attempts (making up the route as it went along) to prevent demonstrators from disrupting the Olympic torch's only North American appearance on Wednesday, they couldn't stop a torch bearer from the Bronx from expressing her pro-Tibet sympathies.
Majora Carter, a 41-year-old environmental activist from the South Bronx, had tucked a small Tibetan flag up her sleeve, with the torch in the other. The NY Times described her 200-meter run, which was cut short.
The Daily News
Five seconds into her run down Van Ness Avenue, Ms. Carter pulled the Tibetan flag from her sleeve and began waving it. There she was, a mole at the head of the procession.
She waved the flag for roughly five seconds, until a Chinese guard saw her. He lunged at her. She dodged him. He lunged again and soon wrested the flag from her hand, saying, “Sorry, I can’t let you do this.”
quotes Carter, "I was expressing my right as an American citizen using freedom of speech in support of people who don't have it. It just became really clear to me what was going on in Tibet and I wanted to do something. Apparently, I'm not part of the Olympic torch-bearing entourage anymore." While that may be true, later at a pro-Tibet rally, she was welcomed like a rock star, as "people bowed, hugged her, kissed her and cried."
However, another New Yorker in the torch run, a retired FDNY firefighter Richard Doran who wore his helmet in honor of the 343 FDNY members killed on 9/11, said this of Carter's act: "I think it's disgusting, appalling. It violated every paper we signed about the sanctity of the event." Coca-Cola, an Olympics sponsor which nominated Carter to carry the torch, is also unhappy with her actions.