BUENOS AIRES, April 11 (Reuters) – Argentine police kept small groups of pro- and anti-China activists apart as they gathered along the route of the Olympic torch before it was due to start its relay through Buenos Aires.

A small group of pro-China activists crossed the plaza at the obelisk monument along the down-town route to shout and wave flags at another group of activists opposed to China’s human rights record and rule of Tibet.

Police quickly separated the two groups, but there were no clashes. The city has braced for possible violence after intense protests in San Francisco, Paris and other cities where the torch relay has been held.

The torch was scheduled to begin its run through the city at 2:15 p.m. local time (1715 GMT), being carried past the pink presidential palace, then past the obelisk and other city landmarks.

“It’s not China that is organizing the Olympics, it’s the the Communist Party, to show a harmonious country, to say that all Chinese are happy, that they respect human rights. But it’s exactly the opposite,” said Alberto Peralta, who was among the pro-Tibet group.

Argentine pro-Tibet activists have promised to carry out nonviolent “surprise actions” during the day, but said they will not try to snuff out the flame as protesters in London and Paris did.

Around 1,500 Coast Guard officers, 1,200 police and 3,000 city workers will stand guard as Argentine athletes and personalities carry the torch through the capital.

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