BEIJING, JUNE 4 -- Beijing University students, defying authorities on the first anniversary of the crushing of China's democracy movement, held anti-government protests for the second straight night as policemen swinging truncheons dispersed a nearby crowd of foreign students and Chinese onlookers at gunpoint.
Tonight's protests were smaller than those that erupted Sunday night, when as many as 1,000 students hurled bottles and marched on campus in the largest display of defiance since the army shot its way through crowds of protesters last June 3-4 before seizing Tiananmen Square in the heart of Beijing.
But the protests showed that despite severe repression during the past year and a facade of calm and unity that the Communist Party has attempted to project, there is still great potential for further unrest in China. The protests also indicated that many Chinese are still angry over the military repression, which left hundreds of civilians dead.
Witnesses said today that despite repeated government warnings against such activities, protests were held Sunday night on the campuses of at least two other schools besides Beijing University. They said that students at People's University in the capital and Fudan University in Shanghai, China's largest city, hurled bottles to mark the anniversary.
The hurling of bottles amounts to an act of political defiance directed at China's senior leader Deng Xiaoping, who protesters blame for ordering the crackdown on the democracy movement. Deng's last name in Chinese -- Xiaoping -- rhymes with the words "little bottle."
Tonight, several hundred students at prestigious Beijing University, which had been at the forefront of the seven-week-long demonstrations for democracy, chanted and threw bottles out of dormitory windows.
Earlier in the day, according to students, department heads at the university had gone from dormitory to dormitory warning the students that they would suffer "severe consequences" if they continued their protests.
Policemen armed with submachine guns and backed by plainclothesmen and campus police sealed off all roads leading to the university and evicted a number of foreign reporters from the campus.
The authorities were apparently trying to prevent the disturbance from spilling onto the streets of Beijing as it did on a massive scale last spring. They also appeared to be trying to prevent foreigners from witnessing and reporting on the latest protests.
Armed paramilitary policemen arriving in a small convoy of motorcycles supported by a police mini-van and a jeep dispersed at gunpoint a small crowd of foreign students, foreign journalists and Chinese onlookers who had gathered outside the main gate of Beijing University.
Witnesses said that the police struck several students with truncheons, including a young Frenchman, a Belgian woman and two students from Burundi. They said that the police also repeatedly struck a Chinese ice cream vendor stationed outside the university gate.
"They went crazy," said one of the students from Burundi. "They were hitting everybody in sight."
One of the African students said that he and a classmate were not involved in the protests and had simply been trying to find a taxi cab outside the university gate. "They were poking the barrels of their guns at us," the French student said.
A senior U.S. official lodged a protest with the Chinese Foreign Ministry today concerning the harassment of American journalists and assaults launched by the police against several of them, according to a U.S. Embassy spokesman. On Sunday, the police roughed up four American journalists, and eight others complained that police and paramilitary police waved pistols or rifles at them.
A Canadian television correspondent, Jim Munson, said that armed policemen chased him for several blocks tonight after dispersing the crowd outside the university's main gate. Munson said that the police pursued him down an alley but that he escaped by jumping over a wall.
A witness at Beijing University said that many of the students there were "surprised and slightly proud" that they had staged protests Sunday night.