Fists fly as Chinese police chase the dragon

Mon Feb 9, 2009 12:52am EST
 
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BEIJING (Reuters) - Three Chinese police officers and more than ten civilians were injured in a clash after police tried to stop a traditional street dragon dance, state media said on Monday.

The local government in Dejiang county in southwestern Guizhou province banned the dragon dance in the downtown area over safety concerns, Xinhua news agency said.

Dancers were only allowed to perform in the suburbs.

"Dozens of dragon dancers, whose rehearsals were stopped Sunday, went to the county government complex and clashed with police and government employees when they tried to perform the dance in protest," Xinhua quoted officials of the local public security bureau as saying.

A crowd of more than 2,000 people were drawn to the scene.

"The protest turned violent when police tried to stop the dance," Xinhua said adding that three police officers and more than 10 civilians were injured.

The dragon dance is part of celebrations for the Lantern Festival which falls on Monday at the end of the Chinese New Year holiday.

(Reporting by Nick Macfie; Editing by Sanjeev Miglani)