Hundreds of police officers block Beijing protest

February 28th, 2011 - 1:12 am ICT by BNO News  

BEIJING (BNO NEWS) — Hundreds of Chinese police officers along with more than 120 vehicles were deployed on Sunday to block a rally in Beijing for the second week in a row, CNN reported.

At least three foreign press photographers were reportedly beaten by police officers and detained. Other foreign journalists, including CNN, were manhandled, detained and escorted away from the site.

A large number of plainclothes and uniformed police officers circulated Beijing’s Wangfujing shopping area, while multiple police officers guarded every entrance to the area.

Two large street-washing trucks blocked pedestrian traffic and sprayed water when protests were slated to begin. Plainclothes police observed the surroundings, while uniformed police officers forced journalists and onlookers out of the vicinity, according to CNN.

Hours before the demonstration was slated to begin, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao presented several strategies to maintain calm including reducing the urban-rural income gap, increased benefits and opportunities for rural citizens, and eliminating corruption during his third annual web chat with selected Internet users. He didn’t comment on the rallies.

On Friday, anonymous instructions urged people to gather at designated places in 23 cities from 2 pm each Sunday. The government continues to block Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, and it has also censored searches on news and micro-blogging websites for terms including “jasmine” and “Wangfujing.”

On February 20, attempts to hold a “jasmine” rally inspired by pro-democracy protests in Tunisia were deemed largely unsuccessful.

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