CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — The Australian leg of the Olympic torch relay began Thursday amid large crowds and tight security to prevent disruptions by protesters. At least two people were detained as supporters and detractors of China’s government faced off in minor scuffles before the start.

Organizers of Australia’s portion of the relay worried that chaotic demonstrations that marred the event elsewhere could be repeated.

Protests of China’s human rights record and its crackdown on anti-government activists in Tibet have turned the relay into a contentious issue for the Olympic movement. Many countries have changed routes and boosted security along the flame’s six-continent journey to the Aug. 8-24 games in Beijing.

People carrying Chinese flags appeared to strongly outnumber those carrying Tibetan flags or placards supporting independence for the territory or criticizing Beijing’s human rights record.

Television footage showed dozens of China supporters facing off against a group carrying blue-colored flags representing the China’s Muslim minority Uighurs. Minor scuffling broke out as officials sought to separate the two groups into different areas of the park. Police said two people were arrested.

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