In this photo released by China's Xinhua news agency, dancers perform a Tibetan ethnic dance to welcome the Olympic flame in front of the Potala Palace during the Olympic torch relay in Lhasa, the capital of Tibet, on Saturday. ((Xinhua, Suolang Luobu/Associated Press))

A peaceful, pre-screened crowd of onlookers waved flags as the Olympic torch was carried on a three-hour tour through the Tibetan capital of Lhasa on Saturday.

Hundreds of police officers lined the 9.3-kilometre route from Norbulingka, originally known as the Dalai Lama's summer palace, to Potala palace, formerly the chief residence of the region's Tibetan spiritual leader, who has lived in exile in India since 1959.

Ethnic Tibetan dancers performed in the square outside the hillside Potala palace. Just under half of the 156 runners were ethnic Tibetan, China's official Xinhua news agency said.

The relay was held three months after violent anti-Chinese protests in Lhasa sparked a security crackdown marked by hundreds of arrests.

Lhasa, which has been under a security lockdown since the March riots, all but closed down for the relay, with streets deserted and shops closed.

The torch next travels to neighbouring Qinghai province, also hit this spring by protests in Tibetan-dominated areas, before gradually winding its way across northern China toward Beijing for the opening ceremonies of the Olympics on Aug. 8.