Shanghai police detained Zhan Quanxi, an advocate for equal education opportunities for children of migrant workers, after he and a dozen people protested the inequities while walking around People's Square adjacent to the municipal government building on Saturday morning.
The police singled out Zhan, 45, after the group refused to follow police orders to leave the square.
Lu Feng, the spokesperson of Shanghai Public Security Bureau, said on its official micro blog on Sunday that Zhan was arrested after he scratched a police officer.
Zhan's wife, Liu Xinhua, told the Global Times that she was informed in a note from the Huangpu district police that her husband was detained for disrupting public services and would be held for at least three days.
The couple has a 15-year-old daughter, who has attended school in Shanghai since kindergarten.
She told the Global Times that the group was carrying papers quoting from the 18th Party congress some of which called for protection of human rights.
"The officers took the papers from us, and pulled my dad into a police car. I don't think they should arrest my dad, because I came up with the idea," said Zhan Haite.
Zhan Haite referred to the protest as a family activity and said the group consisted of a dozen migrant parents and their children who are unable to attend senior high schools in the municipality that teach an academic curriculum that leads to better opportunity to attend university.
Children of migrant workers are streamed into vocational schools if they remain in Shanghai during their high school years.
Zhan Haite refused to return to Jiangxi Province for senior high school after she graduated from a junior high school in Shanghai in June and was refused admittance into an academic high school in the city. She has been self-studying the senior high courses, according to news website caixin.com.
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