Crowds gather early for Olympic torch relay in Hong Kong

Soaked by a morning drizzle, people began gathering hours before the Olympic torch relay began Friday in Hong Kong, with some waving red Chinese flags and others holding signs demanding democracy in China. The eight-hour relay through canyons of skyscrapers was expected to be a big challenge for Hong Kong's leaders and police. The torch is finally back on Chinese soil, and Beijing wants no repeat of the protests and chaos that dogged the flame during its 20-nation overseas tour. Everyone was encouraged to wear red to show their support for the torch, and about 3,000 police were deployed to defend the flame. But if there was to be any more trouble it was likely to happen in Hong Kong, a place with civil liberties unrivaled in the rest of China. Two hours before the relay began, people started lining up along the streets near the start of the event in the bustling tourist shopping district of Tsim Sha Tsui in Kowloon.