China Unleashes Whistles, Water on Tiny Protests

Online posts call for Chinese to gather peacefully every Sunday
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 27, 2011 7:58 AM CST
China Unleashes Whistles, Water on Tiny Protests
Chinese policemen frisk the foreigners near the shopping street of Wangfujing in Beijing Sunday, Feb. 27, 2011.   (Andy Wong)

Large numbers of police and new tactics like shrill whistles and street cleaning trucks squelched very tiny protests in China today. The turnout was small in this second Sunday of protests—online posts have called for Chinese to gather peacefully at sites every Sunday in a show of people power meant to promote fairness and democracy—likely because the appeal ran on sites like Twitter and Boxun, which are banned in China. The New York Times notes that few in Beijing seemed aware that a protest was supposed to occur.

But the police seemed more than aware, reports the AP: Near Shanghai's People's Square, uniformed officers blew whistles nonstop and shouted at people to keep moving, though about 200 people, a combination of onlookers and quiet sympathizers, braved the shrill noise. In Beijing, trucks normally used to water the streets drove repeatedly up the busy commercial shopping district spraying water and keeping crowds pressed to the edges. Police reportedly assaulted two foreign journalists trying to photograph and video the security presence, forcibly carrying a Times photographer away and kicking a videographer in the face. (More China stories.)

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