By and  on April 21, 2008

BEIJING — Sporadic anti-French protests, quickly quelled by police, erupted at Carrefour stores across China over the weekend, even as the Chinese government took initial steps to quell rising nationalist fervor and anti-French sentiments that threaten to upset the surging businesses of foreign retailers.

More than three dozen police officers flanked the entrances of a Carrefour location in central Beijing on Saturday and, though they would not answer any questions about their presence, Chinese media reported that protesters staged an anti-Carrefour demonstration earlier in the morning at the store. State media also reported that thousands of demonstrators showed up at the French supermarket, with smaller protests around the country. A heavy police presence continued in Beijing's embassy district, particularly around the French and British embassies. In a statement, the Foreign Ministry urged Internet users — who have been calling for boycotts of Carrefour and other French brands over the country's protest-plagued global Olympic torch relays — to behave calmly and rationally and to focus their attention on China's economic progress instead.

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