Breaking: anti-Japanese protest headed for Japanese embassy

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The anti-Japanese protest demonstration begun this morning has become a protest march, headed for the Japanese Embassy. As of 3:30 p.m., the protesters are at Dongsi shitiao, about a mile away from the embassy.

The march started as a demonstration in front of Hailong electronics supermarket (in the university district of Haidian) to boycott Japanese goods.

The last time such a march happened in Beijing was on May 9, 1999, when Chinese students marched from Haidian to the US Embassy, to protest against the US Airforce bombing of the Chinese Embassy in Belgrade. During that protest, stones and molotov cocktails were thrown over the embassy walls, but the police chased everyone away once the point had been made.

The 1999 protests were organized with tacit consent and perhaps organizational encouragment from the authorities. It seems that today's protest is similar: state-owned news agency's Chinese website had an anti-Japanese headline for most of this morning (see the bottom of this earlier Danwei post for screen grab).

Is this the impotent being manipulated by the plenipotent?

Or are the protesters true believers who will have the balls to continue their protest even when the cops tell them to go home?

We'll know later tonight.

Chinese blogger Topku is keeping tags on Internet reporting about the protest, and has plenty of links (mostly in Chinese).

The image above is reproduced from J5EE's Flickr feed.

UPDATE: Shanghai-based journalist Fons Tuinstra has some numbers on his blog China Herald:

Xinhua stayed on the safe side and said it were 'more than one thousand demonstrator', while Reuters keeps it at a neutral 'thousands'. CNN comes with the figure of 6,000.

Not exactly people power in a nation of 1.3 billion.

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