Protesters gather in Beijing, Shanghai

February 20th, 2011 - 6:45 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, Feb 20 (IANS) Hundreds of people gathered Sunday in China’s major cities of Beijing and Shanghai but were dispersed by police in both places.In Beijing, people gathered in front of a restaurant in Wangfujing Street, but dispersed after police came to maintain order, Xinhua reported.

People started to gather at around 2 p.m. (0600 GMT). When police tried to take away two men from the crowd soon after, the protesters were surrounded by foreign journalists holding cameras.

Police began to clear out the traffic congestion, and most of the people left by 2.50 p.m.

In Shanghai, crowds gathered around the People’s Square at the same time - around 2.00 p.m. Three people were detained by police, after a man aged around 30 began a speech at the intersection of Yunnan Zhong Road and Hankou Road.

He, however, fled when police came. The crowd dispersed by 3.10 p.m.

DPA reported that the Hong Kong-based Information Centre for Human Rights and Democracy said more than 100 Chinese activists have been placed under house arrest or are in police custody.

A call for a “Jasmine Revolution” and demonstrations in 13 Chinese cities at 2 p.m. had earlier been issued over the internet.

Its initiators were unknown and it was not immediately clear how many people followed the call, which was accompanied by appeals for freedom and democracy.

The unrest that led to the ouster of Tunisian leader Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali in January has come to be known as the Jasmine Revolution.

Internet censors in China reportedly blocked searches for the word “jasmine”.

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