People's Daily's statement enraged the students. Over 100,000 students assemble on the streets of Beijing, and disregarding the warning of a crackdown made by authorities, demanded that the government revoke the statement.
As students strode out of their school gates on the morning, many feared the worst. But when the first row of marchers approached police lines seven or eight men deep, the unexpected happened: surging crowds of citizens who had turned out in support rushed the police lines - and the police did not fight back, but only linked arms in a futile attempt to hold back the huge crowds. With citizens running interference, the student marchers triumphantly made their way south to West Changan Avenue, then east towards Tiananmen Square.
In a surprise tactic designed to minimise the possibility of any clash with the police, the marchers did not stop at the Square but continued east through the heart of Beijing. Large crowds cheered enthusiastically along the entire route; citizens threw food and drink to the exuberant marchers. Not until late at night did exhausted students return to their school, after having completed a roughly twenty-mile circuit. The march was a huge success and a public relations coup for the students, and a humiliation for the government: never before in the history of People's Republic of China had there been such an anti-government demonstration.