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Police corral crowds as movers leave US Consulate in China

Chengdu: Moving trucks and vehicles with diplomatic plates pulled out of a US Consulate in southwest China on Sunday, as its impending closure over rising bilateral tensions drew a steady stream of onlookers for the second straight day.

People stopped to take selfies and photos, jamming a sidewalk busy with shoppers and families with strollers on a sunny day in the city of Chengdu.

A little boy posed with a small Chinese flag before plainclothes police shooed him away as foreign media cameras zoomed in.

The capital of Sichuan province, along with Houston in Texas, has found itself in the limelight of international politics as China and the US exchanged tit-for-tat orders last week to close each other's consulates in the two heartland cities.

Police in Chengdu have shut the street and sidewalk in front of the consulate and set up metal barriers along the sidewalk on the other side of the tree-lined road.

Uniformed and plainclothes officers kept watch on both sides of the barriers after scattered incidents following the Chengdu announcement on Friday, including a man who set off firecrackers and hecklers who cursed at foreign media shooting video and photos of the scene.

A man who tried to unfurl a banner or sign late Sunday that he called an open letter to the Chinese government was quickly taken away.

Earlier, a bus left the consulate grounds and what appeared to be embassy staff spoke with plainclothes police before retreating back behind the property's solid black gates. It wasn't clear who or what was on the bus.

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