China says it has designated three parks in outlying parts of Beijing to be used for public protests during the Olympic Games next month.

China's head of Olympic security, Liu Shaowu, made the announcement Wednesday at a news conference. He said protesters may stage demonstrations if they apply to the government for a permit and are approved.

He did not answer questions about whether foreigners could protest in the parks, or whether there would be restrictions on what people could protest about.

The city of Athens, Greece, designated such protest areas when it hosted the Olympic Games in 2004. The International Olympic Committee bars demonstrations at Olympic venues.

The international portion of the Olympic torch relay was marred in some cities earlier this year by protests against China's rule in Tibet.



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