Chinese police dragged away more than 100 parents on Tuesday while they were protesting the deaths of their children in poorly constructed schools that collapsed in the earthquake.
The parents, many holding pictures of their dead children, were pulled down the street away from a courthouse in Dujiangyan, a resort city northwest of the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu.
“Why?” some of them yelled. “Tell us something,” they said as black-suited police wearing riot helmets yanked at them.
The parents had been kneeling in front of the courthouse yelling, “We want to sue.” Their children attended a high school in Juyuan, near Dujiangyan, where 270 students died.
Police dragged an AP reporter and two photographers who were covering the protest up the steps into the courthouse, trying to prevent them from seeing the demonstration.
“The parents were here to give their report to the court,” said one police officer who refused to give his name.
Calls to local police were not answered on Tuesday.
Asked why reporters were removed from the courthouse, an official from the foreign affairs office of the local government, Zao Ming, said “this is not a good place to do interviews.... In a disaster like this, there will be a lot of opinions. The government will solve their problems”.
There were also several Japanese reporters at the courthouse. One witness who did not want to be identified said police told the parents: “The Japanese are reporting bad things about you.”