BEIJING - Angry relatives of Chinese passengers aboard Flight MH370 scuffled with security personnel Tuesday as they descended on Malaysia's embassy in a rare protest, weeping as they demanded answers on the crashed plane.
"Return our relatives," around 200 family members cried at the gates of the Beijing mission, which was protected by a row of uniformed police and plain clothes security.
One of the most vocal campaigners against the Malaysian government, Wen Wancheng, burst out crying, his face contorted with emotion.
"My son, my son, return my son!" screamed the 63-year-old, as relatives behind him chanted slogans, raising their right fists. Behind him others bowed their heads and sobbed.
Scuffles broke out when uniformed security personnel attempted to block some of the relatives from reaching reporters, who were being kept in a designated area. One woman was taken away on a stretcher.
Paramilitary police with riot shields assembled nearby, out of view of the protesters.
The relatives, some in tears, had linked arms as they marched from the Lido Hotel, where they have gathered throughout the 17-day drama, about four kilometres (2.5 miles) to the mission.
They erupted in grief, fury and disbelief late Monday when Malaysia announced that although no wreckage has been found, satellite data showed the plane had crashed in the Indian Ocean.
At a press conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Airlines' chief executive Ahmad Jauhari Yahya defended the carrier against criticism that relatives were told in a text message that the plane was lost with no survivors.
"Our sole motivation last night... was that the families heard the tragic news before the world did," he said at a press conference. "There are no words which can ease that pain."
'We want our families'
Chinese authorities normally keep a very tight rein on any protests in Beijing.
But at intersections along the way police blocked traffic to allow the marchers through, while at the embassy scores of black-clad uniformed police officers kept the roads clear, their walkie-talkies abuzz.