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April 14, 2011

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Street protest after man attacked

THOUSANDS of residents gathered in the streets in Shanghai's Songjiang District yesterday to protest after several urban management officials beat up a pedestrian over an alleged traffic dispute.

An angry crowd of witnesses to the incident began to gather in the area facing down the police and demanding that the officials be punished.

The confrontation later became more serious and lasted until after midnight with more and more residents and police joining in.

Motorcycles were set ablaze at the scene in Jiuting Town in Songjiang, according to witnesses and posts on the last night.

Early this morning, Shanghai police confirmed that a protest had taken place but said that they were still unclear what had caused it.

More detailed information will be released today, they said.

The initial incident happened at about 3:30pm on Huting Road N near Husong Highway when an urban management vehicle had a traffic dispute with a pedestrian, witnesses said.

The vehicle was trying to run a red light while the pedestrian refused to give way, witnesses said. A quarrel broke out, during which about eight urban management officials jumped from the vehicle and started attacking the pedestrian.

The pedestrian, not identified, refused to leave and remained lying on the ground while a crowd of passersby gathered round him in support.

Police later cordoned off the scene with part of the Husong Highway closed after more and more people continuing to arrive.

"It was a mess," said a witness surnamed Yang who got off the Metro Line 9 in Jiuting Station at about 10:30pm.

"Thousands of people were gathering at the intersection and shouting for something which I didn't hear clearly as the scene was noisy."

Yang said bus lines near the Jiuting Station were also affected by the confrontation and many passengers were delayed at the Metro station.

Yang said she finally had to walk in the opposite direction to hail a taxi and take a detour to get home.


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