As you have no doubt heard, SF (Gavin Newsom) changed the path the torch took, avoiding a whole bunch of protesters, but disappointing those who came out to see it.
I was trying to think what I would have done in the city's position.
I came back to
A city's responsibility is to
1. protect its citizen's and visitors
2. not stomp on civil rights
A caller to KFOG mentioned yesterday that it was a powder keg on the Embarcadero and there were people planning on violence. I think Newsom probably took the best of a set of not fun choices. The protests got to happen. The torch got to run. And most importantly, no one got killed or severely hurt.
Yes, people were disappointed that they didn't get to see the torch but they likely wouldn't have seen it anyway. They would have seen a street brawl at best. And the stick thin torch bearers would have been at considerable risk.