Samsung committed to torch relay despite protests

Samsung says it remains committed to its sponsorship of the Olympic torch relay despite large protests in London on Sunday.

Samsung Electronics says it remains committed to its sponsorship of the Olympic torch relay despite large protests in London on Sunday that dogged the progress of the torch through the city.

"We understand there are concerns among consumers, customers and even internally within Samsung," said Louis Kim, a spokesman for Samsung in Seoul. He said Samsung has no control over the route of the torch or the cities it visits. "Just like the spectators we are trying to embrace the Olympic Games," he said.

Thousands of people turned out to see the Olympic torch and among them were a sizable number who were protesting China's human-rights record and its treatment of people in Tibet.

To enable the torch to travel through the city without interruption, a protective ring of Chinese security staff supplemented two rings of local police but at several points people managed to get close to the torch. At one point a protestor managed to grab the torch for a moment before being wrestled to the ground by police.

By the end of the day there had been 37 arrests by police involving incidents related to the relay.

On Monday the torch relay moves on to Paris and more protests are expected. On Wednesday it is due to travel through San Francisco.

"We have to watch carefully but the torch will continue to travel until the end of the international relay," said Kim.

Samsung is one of a handful of major sponsors of the Olympic Games. It began sponsoring the torch relay at the 2004 games in Athens and will continue to do so until the 2016 games.

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Martyn Williams

IDG News Service
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