30 Years Ago: Residents Block Army Move

30 Years Ago: Residents Block Army Move

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the nationwide, student-led democracy movement in China, and the subsequent June 4th military crackdown in Beijing. To commemorate the student movement, CDT is posting a series of original news articles from 1989, beginning with the death of Hu Yaobang on April 15 and continuing through the tumultuous spring. 

The following photos were taken on  on June 3, 1989, as protesters tried to block army troops who entered the square (via CND):



See another photo of soldiers sitting in front of a crowd of protesters, via the Los Angeles Times.

From the June 3, 1989 New York Times:

Tens of thousands of Beijing students and workers surged onto the streets early this morning to turn back more than 2,000 troops who were marching toward Tiananmen Square.

It was the biggest outpouring of citizen support for the demonstrating students in more than a week, and it seemed possible that it would rekindle the student movement and present a new challenge to the Government.

The confrontation underscored the fragile and volatile nature of the situation in Beijing just when the turmoil here seemed to be subsiding after seven weeks of demonstrations by students and workers for democracy and against corruption.

Students and local residents were convinced that the army troops planned to clear Tiananmen Square, which students have occupied for three weeks. All along Changan Avenue, the main east-west thoroughfare, local residents emerged in the pre-dawn hours to block nearby intersections and prevent troops from passing, after more than a week in which the streets were clear of such roadblocks. [Source]

See The Atlantic for more photos of events that took place over the course of the demonstrations.

[This series was originally posted by CDT in 2009 to mark the 20th anniversary of the protests. If you have access to additional sources of original reporting, video, accounts or photos from the spring of 1989, please send them to us at cdt@chinadigitaltimes.net and we’ll consider including them in this series. Many thanks.]


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