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Online rumors lead to crowds in Beijing's Qianmen St | Updated: 2013-02-25 21:45

Thousands of people swamped Qianmen Street in Beijing on Sunday, causing massive jams on roads and subways, after online rumors surfaced about a Lantern Festival show.

The area has been used in the past to host performances to mark the festival, but authorities decided to scrap the event this year due to fears about overcrowding.

However, by about 5:30 pm the street was already starting to fill up, largely due to micro blog posts talking about an event there, the Beijing News reported Monday. The crowds grew so large that people found it difficult to move.

To control the crowd, traffic was diverted and the Qianmen subway station was closed for 30 minutes. Police officers were stationed on nearby streets and subways stations to direct people, while alerts were also posted on the authority’s Sina Weibo micro blog.

Many residents were trapped in the area until 9 pm, the Beijing News reported.

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