April 11 (Bloomberg) — The Olympic torch world tour moves to the streets of Buenos Aires today and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon became the latest world leader to say he’ll miss the opening ceremony of the games in Beijing.

Protesters against China’s alleged human rights abuses vowed to peacefully press world leaders for a boycott of the ceremonies. Mayor Mauricio Macri said 5,000 police officers and volunteers will help protect the torch’s 13-kilometer (8.1-mile) relay route through the Argentine capital. The torch’s arrival in Buenos Aires, its only stop in South America, is a “moment of pride” for the entire country, he said.

China’s crackdown on unrest in Tibet and its links to the government of Sudan led protesters in London, Paris and San Francisco to seek to disrupt the flame’s 137,000-kilometer, 21- city tour. International Olympic Committee President Jacques Rogge called the protests a crisis, adding that the IOC had weathered bigger storms. He said the 1972 Munich games, in which he was an athlete, were “the biggest crisis ever” for the IOC.

“We’re going to undertake some `surprise’ actions across Buenos Aires, but these will be done peacefully,” said Jorge Carcavallo, an organizer with the Free Tibet group, which will join a counter “Human Rights Torch” relay. “We will not try to snuff out the torch.”

Scheduling Conflict

Ban won’t attend the opening ceremony because of a scheduling conflict, conveyed to the Chinese some months ago, spokeswoman Marie Okabe said yesterday in New York. The European Parliament has urged EU leaders not to attend. Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk has already decided not to go and Czech Foreign Affairs Minister Karel Schwarzenberg said he would be “glad” if European politicians don’t go. U.K. Prime Minister Gordon Brown will attend the closing ceremony.

Hillary Clinton has urged President George W. Bush not to attend the games and Barack Obama, Senator Clinton’s rival to become the Democrats’ presidential nominee, said the president should consider skipping the opening ceremonies.

The torch’s journey has become a focal point for demonstrations against China’s human rights record since a crackdown on protests in the Tibet region last month. The Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, called yesterday for an investigation into the clashes between Chinese troops and protesters that may have killed hundreds of people.

“We’re in favor of human rights here, in China and every other country but we shouldn’t transform an event that tries to unite different cultures and promote dialog and youth sport into a political act,” Macri, the former president of the Boca Juniors soccer team, said April 8.

The relay in Buenos Aires is scheduled to begin at 1.15pm EST.

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