Tight security was installed at parts of Chinese capital's vast northern region of Inner Mongolia on Sunday after news of a possible protest by Mongolians spread via internet.
Ethnic Mongolians have been protesting for six days over the death this month of a Mongolian herder, Mergen, after being struck by a coal truck. The government announced the arrest of two Han Chinese for homicide, but that did not bring down the anger in people, reported Reuters.
Hundreds of paramilitary policemen and police in riot gear, armed with shields, batons and helmets, patrolled Hohhot's Xinhua Square, next to the Inner Mongolia radio and television station to prevent residents from staging a planned protest. Police also surrounded Ruyi Square, in front of the local government building, but elsewhere life went on as usual.
In a rare incidence, hundreds of China's Mongolians, who make up less than 20 percent of the roughly 24 million population of the Inner Mongolian Autonomous Region, have taken to the streets in other parts of the province, owing to the death of the herder on May 10.
An official government said the herder, named Mergen, was run over and dragged for 145 meters after organizing herders to block coal trucks that were destroying grasslands and threatening their livelihoods, said a report in Ft.com.
Inner Mongolia, which covers more than a 10th of China's land mass, is supposed to offer a high degree of self-rule, but Mongolians say the Han Chinese majority run the show and have been the main beneficiaries of economic development, the Reuters report said.
It's a rare incident that Chinese Mongolians have taken to the streets.
The New York-based Southern Mongolian Human Rights Information Centre said Mongolians were planning further protests over the next few days, including in Hohhot, less than an hour's flight from Beijing.