Petitioners call on US Speaker for help

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 26 May, 2009, 12:00am

A small demonstration broke out near a train station in Beijing, with protesters holding a banner asking visiting US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to pressure the central government on human rights.

The rally took place in front of the petition office of the Supreme People's Court. Protesters, mostly petitioners upset at social injustices, unfolded a banner reading 'Welcome, Pelosi, to China; attention to China's human rights; SOS,' according to two pro-democracy blogs and a petitioner from Jiangsu province .

A protester surnamed Zhuang claimed there were 2,000 people, but the figure could not be independently verified. He said three or four men were taken away by police.

'We hope the American leader of Congress can exert pressure on the Chinese government to resolve people's grievances,' he said.

Mrs Pelosi, who arrived on Sunday, is a long-time critic of China over human rights and Tibet.