Beijing, Feb 27 (DPA) Police detained at least three people at the site of a “jasmine” protest in Shanghai, China Sunday as hundreds of people refused orders to leave the area, sources said.
A foreign reporter who watched the gathering near the Peace Cinema said he saw police take away three people and heard that several others were arrested.
The police used loud whistles and brought in water-spraying street cleaning trucks in a bid to persuade onlookers to leave the site, but many people stayed for about one hour, the reporter said.
“They didn’t want to move on,” he said of the people who gathered Sunday following an online call for peaceful protests in 23 cities.
At least a dozen foreign reporters were detained near the site of a similar event in Beijing Sunday.
No journalists were detained in Shanghai but they were involved in “a lot of scuffles” with police trying to move them away, the Shanghai-based reporter said.
At least 100 uniformed police and scores of plain clothes officers were deployed in Shanghai, he said.
Police nationwide detained scores of well-known rights activists before and since the first calls for protests in mid-February, charging at least four people with subversion, according to rights groups.
The police raided hostels used by legal rights petitioners near Beijing South railway station Friday night, taking away scores of people, according to unconfirmed reports by rights activists.
The government has also censored searches on news and micro-blogging websites for terms including “Egypt” and “jasmine”.
Open letters circulated online this week urged people to gather at designated places in 23 cities from 2 p.m. each Sunday.
The open letters, which originated from the US-based Chinese pro-democracy website Boxun.com, advised residents of unlisted cities to find central venues for protests.