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Thursday, August 24, 2000
Youth attempts to douse Olympic flame

 SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- The bearer of the Olympic torch came under attack Thursday when a youth attempted to douse the flame with a fire extinguisher.

 A 17-year-old man was arrested by torch security staff and handed over to local police. He was later released into the custody of his father, and no charges were filed, New South Wales state police said.

 A police spokesman said the youth sprayed fire retardant at the Olympic torch, but failed to put the flame out. The relay continued on schedule and there were no reported injuries.

 The incident occurred as the torch relay moved through Maclean, about 340 miles north of Sydney.

 Thursday's disruption followed a similar incident last month when a 19-year-old man jumped out of a crowd and snatched the Olympic flame from a torchbearer near Frankston in southeast Melbourne.

 That man was interviewed by police, but released without charge, with authorities describing the incident as a prank.

 Sydney 2000 organizers said there was no plans to bolster security for the torch.

 "We're actually pleased with security as both incidents were over and done with in seconds," a spokeswoman for the organizers said.

 The torch will be used to light the cauldron at Olympic Stadium during the Sept. 15 opening ceremony to mark the official start of the Sydney 2000 games.

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