Torch protesters scale Golden Gate Bridge

<div class="meta image-caption"><div class="origin-logo origin-image none"><span>none</span></div><span class="caption-text">Protesters have scaled the suspension cables of the Golden Gate Bridge.</span></div>
April 7, 2008 12:24:25 PM PDT
Three protesters have scaled the suspension cables of the Golden Gate Bridge as part of an advance protest to the coming Olympic torch relay in San Francisco.

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The three protesters are tethered together at 150 feet up the bridge. They have strung banners across the cables that read, "One World One Dream," and "Free Tibet '08."

The group, Students for a Free Tibet, is taking responsibility for this demonstration. The national director of Students for a Free Tibet Canada defends their actions by telling ABC7 that "in two days the Beijing torch is arriving in San Francisco and basically, this is the same torch that's going to be going through Tibet in June if it's allowed by the IOC. So we are here to protest the Beijing Olympic Torch and what it's doing and how it could impact the lives of Tibetans if it's allowed to go through Tibet in a month's time. Obviously, we're also here to protest against the Chinese government's actions in Tibet and recent crackdowns."

The group tells ABC7 that they have achieved their mission and they will come down from the bridge "when it is safe to do so."

The protesters were identified by the group's national director as Hannah Strange, Wayne Martinez and a woman by the name of Laurel (spellings unconfirmed).

According to CHP spokesperson Mary Ziegenbein, bridge workers are actively working to cut and remove the banners. However, they will not try to get the protesters to come down. Ziegenbein says they will be increasing the patrolling they do on the bridge as a result of this incident.

The Olympic torch is scheduled to make its way through the streets of San Francisco on Wednesday. San Francisco is the only location in North America that is hosting the torch relay before the Olympics take place in China. China has been called to task over its treatment of Tibet ever since the torch was lit.

The California Highway Patrol has detained several people on the walkway near the protest.

At least one northbound lane of the Golden Gate bridge has been shut down while authorities work to deal with the protestors.

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Stay with ABC7NEWS.COM for updates on this developing story.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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