China: 3 dead as SUV crashes into crowd in Tiananmen Square
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China: 3 dead as SUV crashes into crowd in Tiananmen Square

A vehicle crashed into a crowd in Tiananmen Square noon Monday killing at least three people, according to reports.

 

China’s Xinhua news agency is reporting that the driver of the SUV vehicle and two passengers died in the incident. This image was tweeted by journalist Michael Anti:

 

Early reports said witnesses heard a load explosion and were quickly evacuated from Tiananmen Square, the site a bloody pro-democracy protest crackdown in 1989, by police.

This tweeted image from Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Philip Wen shows the area cordoned off by security forces:

 

 

The Associated Press reports:

State media says a sports-utility vehicle veered through a crowd and crashed into a stone bridge in front of the Forbidden City in central Beijing before catching fire. Three people in the car were killed.

The official Xinhua News Agency said several tourists and policemen also were injured in the accident in front the iconic Tiananmen Gate around noon on Monday.

The gate is one of the southern entrances to the former imperial palace and stands at the top of sprawling Tiananmen Square. The area around the square is one of China’s most closely guarded and politically sensitive public venues. Many of China’s leaders live and work nearby.

Photos from the scene posted to the Internet showed flames and thick smoke spewing from the vehicle.