CLIO mr brice - page 23

At the height of the protests, around one million
people gathered in the square. Protesters chanted
and marched, brandishing placards with slogans such
as “No More Lies.” When walking to and while in
the square they sang the world socialist anthem, The
Internationale. Workers, civil servants and intellectuals
joined the ever growing group, which continued to
consist predominantly
of university students-
possibly due to the
fact that one problem
with China at the
time was limited
career prospects. At the beginning of May, students
organised hunger strikes. Widespread sympathy arose
for the protesters from around the country, galvanising
support for the protests. Students began to travel to
Beijing to join the movement, and by the end of May
demonstrations had spread to 400 cities. The protesters
were peaceful; at no point did they show any hostility or
violence.
The increased support for the protests in May led to
the end of government toleration of the event. On the
night of July 3, the government’s operation to crush
the protests began. Heavily armed troops and tanks
were sent to “clear the square” of the unarmed, peaceful
protesters. This process began at about eight in the
evening, when the tanks and troops began moving
through the city to converge on the square, brutally
shooting anyone who dared get in their way. By 10:30
news of the murder had spread to the square. Student
leaders confiscated sticks, rocks and glass bottles from
protesters who had been tempted to turn to violence,
determined to continue their peaceful protest. At 1:30
the army began to block the entrances and exits of the
square, murdering demonstrators who were attempting
to enter the square. Warning shots were fired over the
heads of the students, who in turn asked for freedom for
China and for the
army to refrain from
using force against
the protesters.
At 4 AM on July 4,
the lights in the square were turned off. This is when the
offensive on the demonstrators in the square began, the
army having been told to clear the square by 6 AM by
“any means.” A large group of students were sat on the
lower steps of the monument in Tiananmen Square, the
Monument to the People's Heroes. Troops beat these
students with clubs, kicked them and smashed their
cameras and recording equipment. An officer spoke to
them through a loudspeaker, saying “you better leave
or this won’t end well.” The square was quickly cleared,
with protesters leaving though one exit left open by
the army. As groups tried to re-enter the square, they
were shot at by tanks and troops. The troops used guns
with bullets that expand inside the body, creating larger
wounds. One group who had left the square at about 6
AM were pursued by three tanks. These fired tear gas at
the fleeing students, and one tank drove into the crowd,
killing eleven protesters.
“The entire surface of Tiananmen Square was
later resurfaced, to remove the bloodstains
left in the square from the massacre.”
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