Today in History: Over 700,000 students and supporters assemble on the streets of Beijing on 27 April

Theofficial newspaper (People's Daily) statement enraged the students. Over 100,000 studentsassemble on the streets of Beijing, and disregarding the warning of acrackdown made by authorities, demanded that the government revoke thestatement.

As students strode out of their school gates on the morning, manyfeared the worst. But when the first row of marchers approached policelines seven or eight men deep, the unexpected happened: surging crowdsof citizens who had turned out in support rushed the police lines – andthe police did not fight back, but only linked arms in a futile attemptto hold back the huge crowds. With citizens running interference, thestudent marchers triumphantly made their way south to West ChanganAvenue, then east towards Tiananmen Square. IN a surprise tacticdesigned to minimise the possibility of any clash with the police, themarchers did not stop at the Square but continued east through theheart of Beijing. Large crowds cheered enthusiastically along theentire route; citizens threw food and drink to the exuberant marchers.Not until late at night did exhausted students return to their school,after having completed a roughly twenty-mile circuit. The march was ahuge success and a public relations coup for the students, and ahumiliation for the government: never before in the history of People'sRepublic of China had there been such an anti-government demonstration.

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