Today in History: Anniversary of the May 4th Movement | Countdown for China | 4 May 2009 | Amnesty International UK

Today in History: Anniversary of the May 4th Movement

Tens of thousands of students marched throughthe streets of Beijing to commemorate the seventieth anniversary of theMay 4th Movement and to press for democracy and freedom of the press.Despite an order by the authorities that the square would be closed,the students marched through the rings of police guarding TiananmenSquare; other Beijing residents joined them.Up to three hundred thousand people gathered at the central square atthe height of the demonstrations. Fifty one Beijing colleges and somethirty colleges from other provinces participated in the demonstration.The demonstration started at 8 am and ended at 4pm.Protestleaders from the Autonomous Students' Federation announced that the twoweek class boycott would end the next day. The students also organiseda delegation for future dialogues with the government.General Secretary Zhao Ziyang made a speech at the annual meeting ofthe Asian Development Bank, saying that he believed that thedemonstrators reflected the general attitudes of the CPC and thegovernment. He said that "problems should only be solved in ademocratic and legalistic manner."Thousands of other demonstrations took place in Shanghai, Tianjin, Guangzhou, Hangzhou, and other cities.

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