Beijing city authorities erased any lingering doubts they lack the muscle to unlock the city's gridlocked roads for the 2008 Olympics with the announcement yesterday of a major show of strength for a warm-up event, the China-Africa Forum. To ensure free-flowing traffic on Beijing's notoriously snarled roads during the forum, to run from November 1 to 6, the municipal government has sent packing half the cars owned by central government departments, state organisations and the People's Liberation Army. It has also banned 80 per cent of vehicles owned by the city and other local governments from taking to the streets and will stop cars outside the fifth ring road from entering the inner-city traffic circle. No commercial promotions, large-scale performances or trips should be organised at parks or shopping centres during the forum, the city government said. All schoolchildren will get to go home early on November 2 and 3, while organisations and businesses will be encouraged to adjust work hours to avoid the regular rush hours. Freight traffic will be banned within the fourth ring road for the entire summit period, and all city roads will be off-limits between 6am and 11pm to tankers moving fuel and dangerous chemicals. Taxis without passengers will not be able to travel down major thoroughfares likely to be used by the 48 African heads of state expected to attend the forum. The city government has asked party members, civil servants and youth league officials to lead the way for residents by leaving their cars at home and going to work by bicycle or public transport.