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Olympic Officials to Discuss International Leg of Beijing Olympics Relay

Olympic officials are discussing the possibility of ending the international torch relay for the 2008 Olympic Games, which has been plagued by persistent anti-Chinese protests since it was first lit last month.

International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge said Tuesday that committee members will discuss ending the international leg of the 2008 relay at a meeting in Beijing this week.

Other Olympic officials have said the practice of Olympic torch relays may be ended all together.

Rogge said he was deeply saddened by the recent protests in London and Paris and voiced concern about the torch moving through San Francisco on Wednesday.

The torch arrived in California early Tuesday, a day after protesters scaled the famous Golden Gate bridge to hang banners supporting Tibetan freedom from China.

China has condemned the protests and has said the "despicable activities" of Tibetan "separatist forces" are against the spirit of the Games.

Large and chaotic demonstrations were held in London on Sunday, when the torch passed through Britain's capital. On Monday, French police canceled the last leg of the relay route in Paris because of protests.

The U.S. State Department said diplomatic security personnel may join hundreds of local police officers to ensure security in San Francisco during the torch relay Wednesday.

Pro-Tibet activists have been holding rallies almost daily for the past several weeks in San Francisco. Today, Nobel laureate Desmond Tutu and American actor and pro-Tibet activist Richard Gere are scheduled to take part in a candlelight vigil.

A spokesman, David Perry, for the torch relay committee in San Francisco says that one runner there has already dropped out.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.