US Ambassador Caught in China Protests

By the ABC News Beijing Bureau

The vehicle carrying US Ambassador Gary Locke was caught up and briefly detained in anti-Japanese protests in Beijing on Tuesday. No one was injured.

A crowd of at least 50 boisterous protestors surrounded the car as it approached the entrance to the US Embassy. They chanted anti-American slogans and threw plastic bottles, causing minor damage to the vehicle. Within seconds over a dozen Chinese security personnel ran to the scene and pushed the crowd back, allowing the car to pass.

Throughout the day more than two thousand Chinese took to the streets in Beijing, thousands more in at least a dozen other cities across China, to voice their anger over disputed islands in the East China Sea. In Beijing, the protests took place outside the Japanese Embassy in a diplomatic district just outside the city center. The US Embassy is located nearby.

In a statement the State Department said, "Embassy officials have registered their concern regarding today's incident with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and urged the Chinese Government to do everything possible to protect American facilities and personnel."

The incident comes as the US directs heightened vigilance at its embassies around the world in light of the recent attacks against Americans in Yemen and Libya.