Dozens of residents in Beijing have scuffled with police, claiming they have been evicted from their homes to make way for a commercial development. The protest comes just days before the opening of the Olympic Games.
The historic area near Tiananmen Square is being redeveloped, turned into shops and businesses with companies such as Nike and Starbucks among the new tenants. “We are not against the Olympics,” said one former resident. “But they shouldn’t have destroyed my house, forcibly evicted me and left me homeless.”
Demonstrations near Tiananmen Square – scene of a lethal pro-democracy crackdown by the Chinese military in 1989 – are rare and quickly suppressed. The Games are a showcase for Beijing and hundreds of thousands of security personnel and volunteer “citizen police” have been deployed to watch out for signs of unrest.