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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, Boxun.com 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”.
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, chenw.com, that a police officer had slapped the woman’s face. The demonstrators demanded police return the mobile phone and apologise.
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 Boxun.com the mainland media had not reported the incident.