Thousands of Chongqing residents protest police handling of traffic dispute

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 14 February, 2013, 9:21am
UPDATED : Thursday, 14 February, 2013, 9:45am

In one of the first public protests in China during the Lunar New Year holiday, thousands of people demonstrated in Chongqing on Monday against police handling of an angry dispute between a bus and private car driver.

The protest began after a bus driver and a private car driver got into a heated altercation on a crowded road in Northern Chongqing District, reported. According to witnesses, the two drivers clashed over who had the right of way. They then saw the private car driver strike the bus driver.

The private car driver, who appeared drunk according to witnesses, threatened the bus driver warning him he had “connections in high places”.

Traffic police officers rushed to scene, but after talking to the pair and making a phone call, they let the private car driver leave.

Angry residents, believing the private car driver had received special treatment, took to the streets.

Witnesses claimed police officers confiscated a mobile phone from a woman attempting to photograph the protest.

One witness wrote on the local online forum,, that a police officer had slapped the woman’s face. The demonstrators demanded police return the mobile phone and apologise.

Calm was finally restored when senior police officials arrived and asked the crowd to disperse. The incident lasted about six hours, reported.

A police spokesman said on a Sina Weibo microblog the bus driver had not been injured. He said the private car driver had apologised for hitting the bus driver. The man was now helping police with their inquiries, the spokesman added.

The official Sina Weibo microblog later deleted information about the incident. The microblog also refused to comment from a request from the South China Morning Post for more information.

People at the scene told the mainland media had not reported the incident.