A Jeep crashed into crowds near Tiananmen Gate in Beijing on Monday, erupting into flames and killing three, injuring 11 and sending tourists fleeing.
Police sent the remaining onlookers on their way and kicked off an investigation, USA Today reported.
Authorities are regarding the crash as a possible attack rather than a random accident. Police say the Jeep drove for a bit along a sidewalk outside the barriers that block vehicles from reaching the Gate, and then sped up before it crashed and exploded. The driver and two passengers were killed. Another 11 tourists and law enforcement officials were hurt, Beijing authorities said, USA Today reported.
Photographs that made the online media circuit show the Jeep in flames, right next to the bridges that lead to the portrait of Chairman Mao and to the Forbidden City, where China’s emperors once lived, USA Today said.
Tiananmen Square, the heart of tourism and Chinese politics — where leading Communist Party officials live and work — is also famous for its 1989 protests that were quelled by military tanks and uniformed gunmen.