The Falun Gong [group] distanced itself yesterday from five Chinese who set themselves on fire in a mass suicide attempt on Tiananmen Square. Beijing police moved to block any further large-scale protests on the square, as rumours spread of demonstrations yesterday to mark New Year's Day in the Chinese lunar calendar, the main festival of the year in China. A handful of Falun Gong followers who attempted to unfurl banners were quickly grabbed, beaten, and taken away, a sight which has become routine in the Chinese capital. [Group] members posted messages on the Falun Gong's North American website accusing Chinese authorities of staging the attempted suicide incident for the international media. A press statement released in New York said: "This so-called suicide attempt on Tiananmen Square has nothing to do with Falun Gong practitioners, because the teachings of Falun Gong prohibit anyone from killing." Beijing is preparing to welcome Olympic delegates next month to judge the city's bid for the 2008 games. Despite its bloody past, the square has been suggested by Chinese officials as a venue for Olympic beach volleyball.