China has tightened security around the country’s main tourist attraction, the Forbidden City, in a bid to curb a wave of human rights abuses.

The government said on Thursday it had deployed police, military personnel and other officials to the area and shut down popular tourist sites across the country, including the popular seaside city of Taiyuan and the countrys most popular tourist destination, the Great Wall.

In a statement, the Beijing Municipal Government said a group of around 3,000 people, including about 100 university students, had been arrested over a demonstration in front of the Forbidden Palace last week.

“The main objective of this crackdown is to deter such demonstrations and ensure the safety of the city’s residents,” the statement said.

It added that “security measures were tightened and the number of people arrested and detained increased significantly”.

In Taiyun, hundreds of people gathered in front, chanting “No, no, no” as they were detained by police.

China’s government has been cracking down on protests since the ruling Communist Party launched a crackdown on dissent in 2011.

The number of protests, which began in late December, has exploded in recent months, with tens of thousands of people demonstrating outside the government offices in the capital, Beijing, in the run-up to the annual Lunar New Year holiday.

The crackdown comes as China continues to grapple with the country s latest wave of unrest, with more than 40,000 protesters detained in January alone.