Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) urged San Francisco protesters that will demonstrate against Chinese government actions when the Olympic torch comes to the city to do so "peacefully and respectfully."

"Many will exercise this right by demonstrating against the Olympic torch," Pelosi said in a statement. "I urge all those who protest to do so peacefully and respectfully. I commend those who speak out for their commitment to shining a light on the causes that challenge the conscience of the world."

Pelosi acknowledged the importance of the protests, noting "freedom-loving people around the world are vigorously protesting because of the crackdown in Tibet and Beijing