Hundreds of students joined protests yesterday against the removal of a monument dedicated to victims of the 1937 massacre in Nanjing, despite the Government's promise to restore it. About 500 students from Nanjing University and Nanjing Normal University gathered in the city centre yesterday, watched by thousands of residents. Witnesses said the students had pasted up posters and shouted slogans such as 'the people of Nanjing will not forget the past' and '300,000 dead are weeping'. Hundreds of police were present but did not intervene. The student protests started on Friday night, despite the Government's attempts to dampen the sense of outrage by publishing reports in local newspapers approving of the patriotic fervour shown by the original protests on Thursday. The monument is one of 16 scattered around the city and was dedicated to the memory of Buddhist monks and nuns massacred at the former Zhengjue temple by Japanese troops. It was removed on Wednesday after a ceremony attended by provincial leaders marking the opening of a government-backed luxury entertainment centre, the Sheng Dao Grand Restaurant. The monument was in the way of the new building. The next day, when mourners arrived to commemorate the dead on the anniversary of the massacre, they discovered the monument was missing and ransacked the three-storey restaurant. In past years, students and others have cloaked anti-government protests under displays of righteous patriotism, making it hard for the authorities to crack down too harshly. Observers in Nanjing believe the protests could continue for days. 'More and more people are coming on to the streets and the students do not seem ready to leave,' said one witness. The protests have continued for three days and this may be a sign that some wish to capitalise on the Government's error of judgment.