WUHAN, June 21 (Xinhua) -- The Armed Police dispersed crowds without clashes Sunday morning in Hubei Province, ending a three-day unrest triggered by the suspicious death of a chef at a hotel.
The Armed Police marched to the Yonglong Hotel, Shishou City, at 3 a.m. and began to peacefully clear the area at 5 a.m.. Since Friday, many people had gathered there over the death of 24-year-old Tu Yuangao.
Most of the crowd remained to watch the police campaign, rather than protest.
A young mother was seen trying to persuade her little son to go home to sleep, but the boy replied "no! I want to wait to see the police."
The crowds quickly left the site and the armed forces, wearing helmets and holding shields and plastic batons, withdrew at about 7 a.m..
But police are still guarding sections of the roads between the hotel and the city.
Loudspeakers were reading appeals from the municipal government to maintain social stability.
The body of the hotel chef was taken to a funeral parlour Sunday morning after Tu's family agreed to conduct a police-proposed autopsy Saturday.
Tu's body was found lying at the gate of the hotel Wednesday evening.
Police found no life-threatening injuries on his body. A note left by the chef showed he was pessimistic and hated the world.
An initial investigation found that the chef had killed himself, which sparked doubt and anger among Tu's family which spread to the public.
Police suggested an autopsy to discover the cause of death, but this was rejected by Tu's relatives on Thursday. They said they were not convinced by the allegation of suicide.
The family told Xinhua Sunday morning they had not raised any allegations concerning the cause of Tu's death so far, nor did they expect that the situation could go so far beyond control, as about 1,000 people had gathered around the hotel since Friday. Some had blocked roads, set fire to the hotel, smashed windows and stopped police from moving the body.
A fire engine and two police vehicles were battered by protesters, witnesses said.
There have been no reports about any injuries during the unrest.
The outside walls of the six-story hotel were blackened by fire and a fire engine and two police vehicles were battered by protesters.
Some local people believed that the chef was killed by gangsters while others said he was killed by the boss of the hotel, who is related to the city mayor.
But local government officials refused to make comments on such allegations, saying they were still investigating the cause of death.
A man surnamed Zhang in his 50s said "the Yonglong hotel is a den for drug-addicts."
He showed Xinhua reporters some used syringes in the rubbish at the back of the hotel.
A 16-year-old girl died in the hotel a few years ago. The death was later recognized by police as suicide, local people said.