While the Olympic torch has been welcomed with overarching enthusiasm in the mainland cities through which it has passed, uncivilised behaviour displayed by some well-wishers has left authorities red-faced and worried. In pictures released by the official China News Service, mounds of rubbish were left in the torch's wake in Guangzhou and Shenzhen after it passed on to Fujian province . Grassy strips along pavements and flower beds at traffic roundabouts were trampled by oblivious revellers. The chaotic crowds have also raised concerns about the authorities' ability to keep spectators in check, especially after months spent whipping up patriotic fervour in anticipation of what many now refer to as 'our' Olympics. In Shenzhen, spectators scaled lampposts and trees along the crowded streets to secure a better view of the Olympic flame. Fifteen men were seen standing, squatting or hanging from the branches of one tree alone. Police cordons and barricades were breached, throwing the torch relay into momentary chaos. At one point, security personnel were forced to snuff out the torch, driving away with the flame in a protective box in the hope of avoiding the crush. 'Such conduct is really very poor,' said Wang Li, a 20-year-old restaurant cashier in Beijing. 'The quality of those guys is really substandard. Don't they know the whole world is watching us?' But patriotic passion was widely cited as a reason to pardon what would otherwise be considered uncivilised behaviour. 'This behaviour is understandable,' said a man surnamed Zhao, who works in an information technology company in Beijing and who watched the relay on television. 'They were just keen to show their warmth and passion.' Mr Zhao instead blamed poor planning by relay organisers. 'The organisers should put out some placards or notes along the route to remind spectators of their conduct, offer some free water and educate the people ahead of time,' he said. The chaos in Shenzhen was compounded by last-minute changes to the relay's timetable to accommodate media coverage of the flame's ascent up Mount Everest, which was subject to the peak's unpredictable weather. But the changes appeared to have been poorly publicised, and many Shenzhen residents spilled into the streets early to stake out spots for the planned 8am run, only to discover it had been pushed back to noon. Meanwhile, residents were also quick to defend their behaviour. 'In my observation, only a minor portion of people exhibited less-than-refined behaviour,' said Li Chenglin, the 37-year-old manager of a Shenzhen jewellery company. 'In such crowds, thefts and fights are natural. But we had hardly any of that.' Asked about flags littering the ground after the relay, Mr Li blamed the poor quality of items sold at the event. 'The thin plastic handle of the flag broke and the flags slipped to the ground,' he said.