A riot broke out on Wednesday night in Sichuan Province with more than 10,000 people protesting against an incident in which three police officers allegedly beat a man to death.
"Please do not believe the rumors. The driver died of an acute disease during the law enforcement process when he was told by the traffic police to remove his truck from the middle of a road. We promise to investigate the case and provide people the truth," the district head was quoted by a witness as saying to the crowd with a loudspeaker.
Pictures and video footage of the riot were widely circulated on Sina Weibo along with claims that three traffic police officers had beaten a truck driver to death in a dispute near a farmer's market in Luzhou, Sichuan Province. At least four patrol cars were turned over and set on fire during the unrest. Enraged crowds were seen throwing rocks and bottles at the police, according to online threads.
The riot lasted through 11pm on Wednesday night, with fires being put out and police trying to regain order in the area.
"Violence should not be tolerated under any situation," said the witness who demanded to remain anonymous.
Calls to the local police officers went unanswered as of press time.