Guangzhou police went on high alert yesterday and threw a tight cordon around the Japanese consulate and the TEEM Plaza shopping centre. About a dozen police vans and army trucks ferried officers to the consulate before office hours and they quickly filled the consulate's car park, with other officers stationed at 100-metre intervals around the Garden Hotel, where it is located. TEEM Plaza in the Tianhe district was similarly secured, with nearly 100 police officers on guard around the shopping centre, where the Japanese supermarket Jusco is an anchor tenant. The shopping centre remained open. Nearby, about a dozen policemen took up positions outside the Citic Plaza office complex, where the Hong Kong government representative office and several consulates are located. Other officers guarded major intersections in Tianhe. By mid-afternoon, no protesters had materialised and the cordons were withdrawn. Police declined to answer questions about the tightened security but there has been speculation that even though protesters have to apply for a police permit, there was the risk of a spontaneous protest on the opening day of the city's China Export Commodities Fair. Official sources said that while the city's government did not encourage the protests, it would not interfere with the protesters. A university lecturer said teachers had been told to stop their students from taking part in protests.