China: Protests picket UN office as Annan visits

Some 150 Chinese seeking action from their government on various grievances protested outside a United Nations office in Beijing Saturday while UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan visited China. About a hundred uniformed and plainclothes police kept the demonstrators away from the gates of the office building, which houses the UN High Commission for Refugees and other diplomatic offices. Police prevented the protesters from marching to the main UN compound two blocks away and with cajoling and mild force put most of the protesters on to a bus, ending the protest. The protesters, many poorly dressed, are among thousands of Chinese who swarm into Beijing daily seeking help in resolving long-standing grievances with officials back home. Usually ignored, they have increasingly turned up outside UN offices and the US ambassador's residence, hoping international intervention will succeed where their government has failed.