‘Small Protest’ Near Tiananmen Square: Officials

A small protest by homeowners against forced relocation was broken up around Tiananmen Square this morning. From Australia’s ABC News:

The group were protesting the meagre compensation they were given after being forcibly removed from their homes in the Qianmen district of Beijing, an official at the area’s relocation office said.

The official, who did not want to be named, said “there was some disruption and the street was blocked for some time.”

A Xinhua news agency report said police broke up the protest after the group voiced “dissatisfaction with government compensation for demolition of their houses” to a group of foreign media organisations.

Despite officials’ pledge that protests would be permitted in designated zones, no-one has yet been granted permission to hold one. ESPN writes about onther housing rights activist who applied, and was turned down, for permission to hold a demonstration:

But Zhang’s experience, and that of several others, shows how wary Chinese leaders remain of public dissent, especially during an Olympics they hope will showcase China as a friendly, modern power. Zhang said the day she went to apply, at least 20 other applications were lodged, and none were accepted.

The government’s decision to allow protests in three public parks far from the Olympic venues marked a seeming turnaround from original plans to squelch any demonstration with massive security.

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