One human rights demonstrator tried to rush the torch shortly after the run began from Seoul's Olympic Park and a North Korean defector tried to set himself on fire to halt the relay.
 
Police deployed 8,300 anti-riot officers to guard the torch relay along the 24km route from Olympic Park to City Hall, but they could not prevent scuffles from breaking out between the two camps.
 
The 300 anti-China demonstrators were far outnumbered by the 6,000 red-clad Chinese supporters waving red national flags and South Korean police had to rescue a man after Chinese students attacked him during the relay.
 

South Korean police had to rescue a man after
he was attacked by Chinese students [Reuters]

Pro-Beijing protesters also threw stones and water bottles at a Korean group that raised banners criticising Beijing, although no injuries or arrests were reported.
 
The protests were over China's forced repatriation of North Korean refugees and its crackdown on Tibetan protests.
 
"While trying to improve its image with the Olympics, China keeps sending defectors to the North knowing they would be executed or sent to political prisons," Ham Chang Kwon, the head of a coalition of groups representing North Korean defectors in the South, said.