Cops: Tossed Cash Didn't Set Off Shanghai Stampede
Families demand answers after 36 fatalities
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 1, 2015 1:38 PM CST
Relatives try to push past security guards at a hospital where those injured by a stampede are being treated in Shanghai, China.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – The death toll from last night's stampede in Shanghai has risen to 36 as families demand answers about why so many people—hundreds of thousands—were allowed to gather in one area with so little crowd control. Among the developments:

  • Lack of police: Authorities were worried days in advance about crowds and canceled all formal events at the riverfront area known as the Bund. As a result, "we did not arrange for as many police officers as last year's national day," says a police commander quoted by the BBC.

  • Fake money thrown: China's Xinhua's news service quotes a witness who says someone threw coupons that looked like US dollar bills from the third floor of a building overlooking the Bund, which set off a scramble. But police quickly rejected that as the cause of the crush. "This incident happened after the stampede," said a police statement.
  • Raised platform: A different witness says the main problem seemed to be at a different area, where throngs of people were trying to get onto a raised platform overlooking the river, reports Reuters. "We were caught in the middle and saw some girls falling while screaming. Then people started to fall down, row by row."
Chinese President Xi Jinping today demanded a thorough investigation.