Authorities in China rounded up activists in Beijing said petitioners and rights campaigners on Monday. Hundreds of the activists were marking the 23rd anniversary of the crackdown at Tiananmen Square.
The detentions took place as Beijing was angered by Washington, when Washington called on all those who had been jailed over the demonstrations in 1989 be freed. The incident 23 years ago took the lives of hundred and quite possibly thousands of young demonstrators after they were shot by soldiers.
Each year the anniversary becomes a very sensitive issue, but much more this year ahead of a handover of power that takes place one every decade and has been marred this year by strong infighting in the Communist Party.
Buses were brought in by authorities to round up the demonstrators as early as Saturday night. There were close to 1,000 petitioners from across the country who were all processed, registered and sent back to where they lived.
Police said the round up of the petitioners was to make sure they did not protest on the anniversary. Petitioners are people who group together at offices of the central government in Beijing to seek compensation due to rights violations that took place in their hometowns.
Police maintained a close eye on Monday on different places where petitioners are known to gather in the capital city. The central government still maintains that the demonstrations of 1989 were a counter-revolutionary rebellion. It has not acknowledged any wrongdoing nor will it consider any compensation of the many killed, over 23 years later.